Free Shipping. Click to learn more.

FREE SHIPPING — all orders over $50!
  • 30% Off With Coupon Code LaborDay30

Family Christian

  • I Really Should Have More Fun

    Posted on March 21, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:11-12 (NIV)

    Why is it so hard for me to stop working and just have fun?

    Other people have no trouble doing this. They look for any reason to drop the dust rags, ditch the dirty laundry, turn off the computer, and head to the park! Or the movies. Or a hike. Laughing all the way.

    I wish I were more like that.

    Couldn't the personality tests I've taken throughout the years just once show a different result? But alas, they always confirm what my family knows too well: I'm the responsible, serious one. The one who picks up cups and plates at someone else's party. And watches the clock at events to ensure they're on schedule. I'm the one who wants to make sure we get all the work done first — before any fun begins.

    Only the work is never done. When I finish one task, another sits waiting for me. There's always something more to do. As a result, I experience false guilt. All the time.

    Every strength has a good and bad side. The good side of being responsible is, well, I'm responsible. If I say I'm going to do something, you can be fairly sure it will get done.

    The bad side of being responsible is feeling like the weight of the world rests on me. It makes a girl crazy worrying about assignments that are hers — and even those that aren't. It's hard to relax. My heart can get resentful when others aren't carrying the weight of the world with me. How do they have so much time to not work?!

    The reality? Not every assignment is mine to do. To assume responsibility for more than is mine speaks of a lack of trust ... in God to do His job ... or in others to do theirs.

    I'm pretty sure this all-work-no-play routine wasn't the life Jesus intended me to live as one of His disciples. Carrying the weight of burdens that aren't mine to carry. Choosing to interact with a computer screen rather than being with people.

    The Bible values hard work, but Jesus' message is clear: Love God. Love people.

    In John 15:11-12, Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

    Jesus, with more to do in His three years of active ministry than I'll have in a lifetime, focused on His main assignment — to love people. Sometimes that meant teaching them. Or serving them. Yet other times it meant just hanging out. Enjoying dinner with friends. Celebrating at a wedding party. Welcoming children. These fun times weren't empty of significance. Rather they were filled with value as Jesus showed love in a different way.

    We love God and others when we work. And when we have fun.

    This is a truth I need to apply to my life more often. My idea of loving others is often shown by serving them. But some people feel loved when I simply spend time with them. And for some, that time needs to be a little less task-oriented and a lot more laughter-filled.

    That's my challenge. To be intentional about having fun. To initiate getting together with others. To say yes when invited. To stretch outside my comfort zone. And to relax about the details.

    Work will always be there — but the people might not be.

    God has a pretty good handle on managing the world. I can leave that job to Him while I grab a loved one and make a lasting memory instead of checking something off my to-do list.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for creating us to laugh. Thank You for putting in us the desire to enjoy life. Help me learn to relax and show love to others without worrying about the details. Forgive me for putting work before someone who needed my time and attention. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is it hard for you to have fun? What holds you back?

    Think of one fun activity you can do with someone this week. Make a call, send a text or email, and extend the invitation.

    Power Verses:
    John 2:1-2, "On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (NIV)

    Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

     


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • Created for Worship

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market! John 2:16

    Christ was furious that His place of worship had been robbed of its original intent. The purpose of the Temple was prayer, worship and confession, but it had become commercialized for the sake of convenience and cash. Merchants muddled the grounds with their wares and currency exchanges, so the faithful could easily purchase their sacrifices to God. However, the holiness of the temple turned into the mayhem of a chaotic marketplace. Thus, Christ cleansed His temple.

    Have some of our churches gone to far by commercializing Christ in competition with worshipping Christ? Have we lost our central focus of prayer, worship, confession and Bible teaching for the sake of convenience and cash? Perhaps we invite Christ to cleanse our churches of any methods or programs that compete with His commission to make disciples. We make sure our mission is faith in Jesus. We worship God without the distraction of selling God’s resources.

    “For zeal for your house consumes me,and the insults of those who insult you fall on me” (Psalm 69:9).

    Furthermore, we have to ask ourselves, "Am I intentionally leveraging my time with the Lord’s people for my own personal gain?" "Am I using Sundays to serve, only so it benefits my work the other six days of the week?" A subtle solicitation of our services during the holy hour of worship can be as harmful as blatant selling. Men and women of integrity focus on who they need to be in God’s sight, rather than promoting what they do during the work week to fellow parishioners.

    Lastly, the Holy Spirit desires to regularly cleanse the temple of our heart. He knows motives become mixed; money seeks too much attention and pride is ever persistent to influence. So, we ask the Spirit to flush out selfish desires and any attachments that distract our personal worship of our heavenly Father. The temple of our heart needs noisy voices to be escorted out and peaceful prayers to be invited in to stay. Christ cleanses our hearts in readiness to worship Him.

    “And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers'” (Mark 11:17).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, cleanse the temple of my heart, so I can worship You wholeheartedly with Your people.

    Related Readings: Exodus 20:40; Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11; Luke 2:49, 18:10; Acts 3:1, 22:17

    Post/Tweet today: The temple of our heart needs noisy voices to be escorted out and peaceful prayers to be invited in. #createdforworship

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John

  • This Saturday Only: $3.99 & 50% off!

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Family Christian

    Big sale the Saturday!
    $3.99 items - see disclaimer
    50% off items - see disclaimer
    Half off personalization on Saturday only - see disclaimer

    This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with Featured

  • Shonlock's We Walk on Water

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Family Christian

    Shonlock has painted the world a richer shade of love with his musical gifts and faith. His album, A Night to Remember, is a sonic stroll through the journey that changed his life and heart forever. By blurring the lines between rock, pop, hip hop, Shonlock creates music that is both uniquely fresh and accessible, lyrically teasing out the truth of how all of us feel at unforgettable moments in our lives on each song.

    That sentiment lays the groundwork for Shonlock’s debut single, "We Walk on Water."

    Check out his new video here:

    What do you think of it?


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Shonlock

  • Kari Jobe - Pioneering New Roads in Worship

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    Dictionary.com gives the definition of pioneer in the following ways
    1. a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.
    2. one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress.
    3. one of a group of foot soldiers detailed to make roads.

    For more than 15 years, well-respected worship leader Kari Jobe has been using her gifts to lead people into the presence of God. When she began leading worship at age 13, she never imagined she would be nominated for a GRAMMY®, win a Dove Award or be praised by the New York Times. She only knew she had a heart for broken people and a deep desire to lead them to the cross.

    Pioneer? This may be the word that describes who Kari is and what she hopes to do as an artist.

    I sat down with Kari and asked about her background. Where she came from, how she found Jesus and where is she going.

    Kari is real. She didn't hold back. She has no problem sharing who she is and what she is about. Her new album, Majestic and where God is taking here. Admittedly, her greatest accolade always has been and always will be the opportunity to reflect Christ. “I don’t see myself any differently than when I was 13, just a worship leader,” she admits. “It’s just sometimes I open my eyes and there’s a few more people worshipping God with me.”

    Kari:                I was raised in a Christian family and my mom and dad did ministry, so we were in churches all the time. My parents sang, so as soon as I could pick up a mic I wanted to sing.  I just thought that's just what we do, we sing (laughs).  I just started falling in love with the fact that God ministered to people in worship. That it could reach people in their emotions and really help them in what they were facing. That they didn’t really know what they wanted to say, but that a song helped them.  I just did music all during that.

    As soon as I could be in the worship team at my church I did. Then in college I did the same thing. I just started really diving into just a lot of worship, a lot of leading worship and being on teams and stuff.  When I went to Christ for the Nations I recorded Revelation Song for the first time.  I would say that that song was a big game changer for me.  I just started using it.  People would start calling asking “Hey doesn’t the girl that sing Revelation Song go to your church.”  I was a worship pastor at Gateway Church in Texas.

    The church just started letting me travel a little bit to go and minister outside the four walls of our building.

    John:               Were your parents much of an influence to you as far as helping you lead and worship.  In other words are they musical as well?

    Kari:                Yeah absolutely.  I sang with them when I was in young.  My dad was the youth worship pastor and lead worship a lot for adult services and I just would sing on the team with him and my mom was on the worship team.  I remember sitting, when I was six years old, listening to her sing the alto line of the worship songs at church.  We would have these nights of worship at my church that would last two and three hours of just worship. People just sitting on the floor, all over the room, just to meet with God.  I grew up in that kind of atmosphere and that kind of heritage where we just waited on the presence of God.

    I got really impacted by the fact that depending on God is real, and it’s not just songs. We’re touching heaven with our worship and God is inhabiting the praises of his people and moving in a room and ministering. Speaking to people.

    John:               Kari you said one time, “Worship for me has always been such a rescue place in my life.”  What does that mean when you say that?  What’s behind those words?

    Kari:                This life that we go through comes with lots of surprises. Everyone has a hard time in life. With family or with friends.  I had a very, very dear close family friend go to prison when I turned 18 and with the Lord over that. There are moments were it's just the deep sorrow in everyone's life.  In that moment, I didn’t know what else to do, but to just turn worship music on or get my guitar out and start playing and pouring my heart out to the Lord.  I realized that worship was just a place that God would meet with us and that I could say things, think things and pray. Just pray songs over my heart.  In those moments its a song that was helping me say things to God or helping me find refuge and strength and hope.

    Experiencing that for myself made me realize how powerful it is to be able to do that for other people and to help them do that through music.  Probably what really made me do what I’m doing today because I just experienced that the transformation of my own life because of worship.

    John:               Yeah. I get it.  You obviously have played a lot of both churches as well as church conferences in your musical career.  Do you think the church here in North America is in a healthy place as far as worship is concerned?

    Kari:                I do.  I think that we’re just in a really exciting season of seeing some denominational barriers come down.  I could literally walk into a church and lead worship and not know what denomination I was in that night.  We’re doing a lot of different churches from Assembly of God to Methodist to Baptist.  People are just coming to church so hungry for a move of God and I think we’re just in a really exciting season in the church.

    John:               Speak about that for a moment.  What does that mean when we’re at that season of a "movement of God?"  I think there’s a lot of people that are expecting, almost sensing that type of activity from God moving upon His church.  What do you hope to see?  What does that feel like for you?

    Kari:                I think it’s because people are just so hungry for more.  I’ve watched the church grow in the last 10 years. There are so many more people coming to church.  Churches are having to do so many more services and I see that because I’m going into these churches and I used to do one service where now I’m doing five and six on a weekend because they’re having to do multiple services.  I get to see a lot of different kind of churches all over the nation and internationally, London, Australia, different places.  It just feels that people are just hungry for more of God. Not just wanting to come to church to get preached at, but they’re wanting to be interactive and feel the spirit of God move.

    I think I would just say that it’s just people are hungry and learn a place of expectancy. When "two or three are gathered in My name," we're going to see things because God comes where He’s welcomed.  A little more together than seeing you stare, but there’s something really powerful when people are saying God come and have your way.  Come and move and just opening their hearts up to the Lord to let Him move, not just coming because it’s a weekly duty of “Well it’s Sunday.  I should go to church.”  People are coming because they want to be there and they are hungry for more of a move of God.  I think that’s what we’re experiencing.

    John:               You just mentioned the verse where two are three are gathered in God’s presence.   With that context, you set out into the making of the new record.  In the context of community.  You set out ona journey of making this record within a community type of approach.  It wasn’t just Kari Jobe by herself.  You had other people speaking into the songs. Some of those would include Paul Baloche, Matt Redman.  You had Tomlin with you, Brian Johnson from Bethel Music, others.  Was that a different approach for you compared to the other two albums that you made?

    Kari:                I always like to co-write.  I love collaborating with other writers.  On this album I mainly collaborated with worship and congregational church writers and people who get it. That really have a heart for congregational worship.  That was my main theme and my main focus for the church and for songs people want to sing in church.

    John:               Was it fun to sit down with those guys?

    Kari:                Oh amazing.  It’s amazing too to just sit down with people who have hearts and like-minded desires.  All of us. Matt. Chris. Brian Johnson - that was our main goal in our heart.  Just to see the church singing songs and anthems. To sit with them and just to hear what they’re sensing for the church, what I’m sensing for the church and what God wants to say. You know I think back to the stuff that we read in 1st & 2nd Chronicles about the Levites and how David would send the worshipers out first and that the worshipers would lead the way into war.

    There’s something that is happening when worship leaders get together and we say what we’re seeing and what we’re experiencing because it’s the same today as it is back then in the Old Testament.  We see things and we can sense what Gods doing. We are asking those questions of God. "What do you want to say to the church?"  "What do you want the church singing?" It’s just powerful first to all do that together.

    John:               That’s quite an experience for sure.

    Kari:                Yeah it really is and to see what songs are working and what songs aren’t working.  It’s like people and the army of Israel would get together and say “This is what’s working in battle and this is what’s not working."  "We need to get rid of this and we need to keep doing this other thing.”  It’s the same thing with the Spirit and we’re tapping in the church and in the spiritual realm.  What’s working and what’s moving and what’s happening in the church in these songs?  Let’s write some more of those.

    John:               Yeah.  Kari this new record is a live album is a little different than other new records. I mean technically when an artist does a live record, they usually go through their catalog and sing songs from previous albums and that’s what makes the live record. You didn’t do that though.  You became very vulnerable. You went out to a concert setting with a list of new songs and recorded them live.  How was that process?

    Kari:                (Laughs) it was awesome.  It was really exciting because people were just as soon as they were catching on that night they were singing them at the top of their lungs.  It was just exciting.  I think everyone knew too coming into that they were going to be new songs so there’s different kind of expectancy with that.  People were ready.  They’ve got their thinking caps on and they’re ready to go and they came ready to help me do a live album.  You could tell.  I told them before we pressed the record button, I don’t care if you sing, even if you know the lyrics or not.

    I told them that I just want them to be interceding for the people that will hear these songs for the first time. That I want to capture the sound and I want to capture an atmosphere on worship on the project that doesn’t have anything to do with the lyrics.  It just has everything to do with the spirit of God being welcomed into this room and moving on this album.  There were times you could hear people praying and times you could just hear people speaking the name of Jesus and that’s just as powerful as them singing any of the songs or any of the lyrics.  We’re capturing the sound of worship.  It was pretty amazing how people just showed up to really help me do the album.

    John:               Kari are you a book reader?

    Kari:                Sometimes (laughing).

    John:               What’s on your book shelf right now that you’re reading?

    Kari:                That’s awesome of you to ask because I just downloaded a new one last night from Bill Johnson called Hosting the Presence.  I’m reading that.  I’m readings Christine Caine's book Undaunted.  I like to read books that really challenge me to keep moving forward and being a pioneer and being someone who just wants God. Wants and wants to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit.  I read some dangerous type books (laughs).

    John:               Do you view yourself as a pioneer?

    Kari:                I do, yeah.

    John:               Yeah, kind of breaking new ground in a sense.

    Kari:                Yes, that’s what I hope to be or I would like to be known as a pioneer in worship.

    John:               Yeah I think that’s a good name for you.

    Kari:                Thank you.

    John:               Moving away from the record besides leading worship, what else do you really enjoy doing?

    Kari:                I love longboard skateboard.  I went for a skate this morning.

    John:               Really.

    Kari:                The weather’s amazing here today.  I love shopping.  I have a new baby nephew and he’s amazing.  I’m a daughter, I’m a sister and a longboard skateboarder and I’m really a fanatic about social media (laughing).

    John:               That’s awesome.  Where can we find you on Instagram?

    Kari:                Just my full name Kari Jobe.

    John:               Got it.  Kari thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.  I really appreciate it.

    Kari:                Yeah absolutely.

    The truth is, Kari may now lead worship for thousands around the world, thanks to an expanding platform, but for her, the songs birthed for Majestic have nothing to do with her. “It’s not about me,” she emphasizes. “If it became about me, that would be dangerous and wrong. It’s about Him. It’s a great honor and a great responsibility, but it’s not any different than me just living my life every day needing Him in my circumstances.”

    Kari's new album will be available in CD, CD/DVD and DVD.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Chris Tomlin, Bill Johnson, Kari Jobe, Matt Redman, Bethel Music, Paul Baloche, Christine Caine

  • Jesus Mourns With You

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Jesus wept." John 11:35 (NIV)

    Colorful balloons and gerbera daisies filled the stage. Amber had asked everyone to wear something bright and cheerful — something that would have made her feisty, beautiful 8-year-old daughter happy had she been there.

    But Callie wasn't there. When this precious girl died, a piece of Amber's heart went with her. Some days, Amber went to bed amazed she had made it through another day.

    Well-meaning people told her to move on or to be grateful for the time she had with Callie. But the more she pushed her grief down, the more it came out in places she didn't want it to, and in ways that she didn't understand or expect.

    The Bible tells of others who grieved this deeply. In John 11, we are told Martha and Mary deeply mourned the loss of their brother, Lazarus. Four days had passed, and they learn that Jesus and the disciples approached the city gates.

    Martha rushed to meet Jesus. Mary did not.

    It's significant that Mary did not immediately come to Jesus. Mary is the one who had sat at Jesus' feet, capturing every word. Mary is the one who loved Jesus as a brother, but revered Him as Lord.

    Though Scripture doesn't share specifically why Mary initially remained behind, it does paint a picture of her state of mind. As Mary finally approached Jesus, she fell at His feet. There, she held up her questions, her doubt and her grief with open hands.

    And the Bible tells us, Jesus wept.

    One commentary describes this response to Mary as an "expression of the Divine in contrast to the human spirit." Jesus was so moved by the depths of sorrow from Mary and the others gathered, that the heart of God reached from heaven to weep with them.

    Not long after His encounter with Mary, Jesus experienced a sorrow greater than anyone has ever known. In Isaiah 53:4 it was foretold, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (KJV). Heartache was an intimate companion to Christ's suffering on the cross.

    As Jesus wept, He understood the weight of Mary's grief. He didn't tell her to move on. Or that she shouldn't feel this way. Instead, Jesus offered inner peace for inner anguish as He mourned alongside her.

    Perhaps today you understand Amber's pain. You desire to live whole, but you live with untended grief.

    May I share comforting news? In the presence of Jesus, you don't have to numb it, escape from it or push it down. Your heavenly Father requires none of these. Just as Jesus welcomed Mary, He beckons you to come to a safe place, where your Savior is not afraid of sorrow. This safe place is a haven where the mending of your heart begins, as you are invited to express your grief with the One who was wounded and broken, and who carried your heartache upon Himself on the cross.

    It's been two years since Callie left this earth. Amber said her healing began the day she felt free to mourn her sweet Callie with the Savior who loved her best. Does she still miss her? Certainly, for Callie is a part of Amber's heart that will live on. But on those days when Amber meets grief — and those days will happen — she knows there is a safe place as she throws open the door to her heart and invites Christ in.

    Loving Savior, who promises never to leave me or forsake me, who understands the weight I've carried, today I invite You to weep with me. I feel joy that I can come to You with open hands to receive renewed life in the midst of my grief. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Designate a specific time and place to express your grief with Jesus. Write your thoughts in a journal.

    Each week, go back and note the times you sensed God with you.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 40:29-31, "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • Unjust Treatment

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? Luke 18:7

    What happens when we are treated unjustly? A written agreement is not honored. Our hard work goes unrecognized or even worse, someone else gets the credit. We are passed over for a promotion, because we did not play politics. A friend will not meet to work out our differences. We feel ignored, mistreated and misunderstood. Our reputation may be bruised, even battered. Unjust treatment can feel like torture. It tests our resolve to persevere in our trust in the Lord.

    What happens in our hearts when we are treated unfairly? They can harden under the pressure of pride, or soften under the influence of humility. An offended heart can lash back in anger, or it can respond in repentance and seek to restore the relationship. Deep disappointment from someone we really respect can challenge our confidence in their character and tempt us to dismiss them. Thus, it's critical that we forgive fast and ask Christ to lead our conversations.

    “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

    Furthermore, we are wise to invite the peace of God to protect our heart and mind. His peace is a buffer between fleshly feelings and Spirit-led emotions. His peace gives us the courage to be a peacemaker, instead of defending our desire to be right. In persistent prayer, God’s peace renews our minds with His thoughts of faith, hope and love. He keeps the devil’s lies away from our thought process, so we can prayerfully process God’s will. Christ’s peace stabilizes our soul.

    Therefore, our unjust treatment is an opportunity for us to ask our heavenly Father to purify our motives and accelerate our forgiveness. Love does not stew in self pity, rather by God’s grace, it wipes clean any dark offense on the white board of our heart. We seek to be reconciled--not to be declared right. We value the relationship far beyond any monetary loss or gain. We die to ourselves, so Christ can come alive in our lives. Unjust treatment will be justified in God’s timing.

    “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:33).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You to make injustices right, and use me in the meantime to model grace, love and forgiveness.

    Related Readings: Job 34:31; Psalm 88:1; 1 Kings 8:39; 2 Corinthians 2:5, 2:9; Revelation 6:10

    Post/Tweet today: God’s peace is a buffer between fleshly feelings and Spirit-led emotions. #unjusttreatment

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke

  • In Theaters Friday - God's Not Dead

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Family Christian

    God's Not Dead in theaters March 21
    Buy tickets now
    Watch the trailer
    GOdsNotDead.com

    This post was posted in Movies and was tagged with Featured, Newsboys, God's Not Dead, Shane Harper, Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson

  • For your eReader: Kyle Idleman’s newest!

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Family Christian

    AHA by Kyle Idleman
    May we suggest...
    The Daniel Plan by  Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman and Rick Warren Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford Uncommon Marriage by Tony and Lauren Dungy
    Growing Up Duggar by Jill, Jinger, Jessa & Jana Duggar Four Blood Moons by John Hagee Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
    Download the Kobo app

    This post was posted in Books and was tagged with Featured, Tony Dungy, Rick Warren, Rachel Macy Stafford, Lauren Dungy, Duggar, Kyle Idleman, John Hagee, Nabeel Qureshi

  • The Joy of Following Christ - from Gareth Gilkeson

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Family Christian

    Gareth Gilkeson

    I remember a few years ago sitting, watching the sunrise. It was a typical misty Irish morning and there was a magical stillness in the air. Something happened that day that I didn't see coming. You see I grew up in church. I've been surrounded by the fact that Jesus loves me since I was born but that day, something new flooded my soul. My eyes were opened and I was totally overwhelmed by the reality of God, that I was not alone, lost in life, that I was not condemned but that I was free. I don't know what happened but this all uncontrollable urge took over me. I jump on my feet and started sprinting through the fields like a wild man, laughing and crying with pure joy. That was my first taste of the art of celebration.

    Since that day I've learned that life has a way of draining that childlike wonder from us, whether through our own failures or disappointments, whether it's suffering or betrayal, or even just familiarity. That's why we put up our defenses, isn't it? That's why we become numb. We pull back from life and become spectators because we're afraid of being hurt again. The good news is Jesus is always doing a new thing. He's not finished with us yet. We may doubt. We may feel like we are broken beyond repair but he is the peace in our troubled sea. He is the healer of the brokenhearted.

    Recently, we made a theological breakthrough as a community and it’s changed everything about our approach. We realized that seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit but joy is.

    You see there's an irrepressible laughter in the heart of God and whole universe cannot contain it. He is the one who invented celebrations and feasting and holidays. He is the one who sings and dances over us. When he suffered the cross, he did it for the joy set before him and that joy was knowing that you and I would be fully free, no longer captive to our sin. Yes, the whole human story is described in terms of a celebration. The marriage of Christ to his bride, the church. Our God is the ultimate artist of celebration. The inventor of the party and the healer of the broken.

    Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Happiness is an emotion, a superficial response to pleasant circumstances, but joy is deeper. It's a spiritual discipline. We, as people, are much more inclined towards negativity and cynicism. We don't find it easy or even natural to pursuit joy, and that's why God and his word actually command us to celebrate. We must wrestle for our blessing. We must fight for our joy. How do we then remind ourselves as a wounded church family that we still have a reason to sing? How do we move from the edges and fringes of the party into the center?

    The Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good, and to do that, we have to once again open up our hearts to wonder and beauty. I'm not saying to be fake or put on a false smile, but rather to always find a reason to rejoice even if we're in the darkest circumstances. We come with the gospel worth celebrating before our celebrating came. And we think our response as worshipers should be obvious. We need to get down to the serious business of joy because the joy of the Lord is our strength, and after all, heaven is going to be the greatest party of all time and we need to start practicing now.

    So don't get caught up on your guilt or failure. You are forgiven. You are free and you're worth more to God than you could ever imagine. Come on, with a childlike heart, wide-eyed with wonder, let's rediscover the art of celebration.

    For more from Gareth and his band, the Rend Collective, click here.

     


    This post was posted in Music and was tagged with Featured, Rend Collective, Gareth Gilkeson

Items 291 to 300 of 1904 total

Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...