FIGHTING FOR FRIENDSHIP

FIGHTING FOR FRIENDSHIP

With hundreds of friends at our fingertips on Facebook and Instagram, it is all too easy to effortlessly “maintain” friendships through quick comments and likes without ever realizing the missed potential for authentic relationships. When we minimize friendships to short text messages and small talk, we miss out on the opportunity to speak identity over each other and draw out one’s destiny that may otherwise lay dormant. For me, the hurdle to experiencing true friendship was the concept of vulnerability—I cringed at the word. The thought of opening up my heart and letting people into my deepest thoughts and fears was terrifying because I didn’t want to give anyone the power to hurt me. For a long time I was paralyzed by that risk and found safety in self-protection and shallow interactions. Since that time God has taught me the true meaning of friendship and spent the last few years challenging me to embrace vulnerability and fight for connection. At first it felt unnatural to let others into my past experiences, current feelings, and dreams for the future. But to my surprise, as I continued to step out in vulnerability, I actually found a palpable sense of safety and true acceptance. The feeling of being known and still unconditionally loved in community has been the most powerful experience in my walk with God. It has propelled me into freedom, challenged me to walk in my calling, and eradicated fear in my life. What does friendship look like to me now? It looks like opening up my heart and sharing my story, inviting people into my present struggles, and giving...
Judges Pt 4 “Deborah”

Judges Pt 4 “Deborah”

I’m struck by the graciousness of God throughout the book of Judges, but particularly in the story of Deborah and Barak. It’s a messy chapter riddled with fear and doubt, redeemed through moments of clarity and support, and ultimately remembered in victory. Barak is not an exemplary leader—having ignored God’s instruction to go into battle against Sisera’s army, God uses Deborah to call him to action. Barak’s response to her reminder? “If you will go with me, I will go…” In the face of his weakness, I love Deborah’s supportive response: “I will surely go with you,” as she journeys up the mountain with him. But, even as everything happens exactly according to God’s promise in battle, Deborah has to prompt Barak to action again and encourage him that the Lord has indeed gone before him. Barak did not know how to be the leader God was calling him to be. He was slow to action and relied on Deborah. But Deborah did not leverage her authority to shame him or force him to do anything; rather, she journeyed with him in his timidity and unbelief. She encouraged him and called him up to be the great leader he was created to be. The battle was won and as prophesied, Sisera was killed at the hand of a woman (major kudos to Jael). The whole next chapter is spent in a song of praise and worship, celebrating the victory as a family of believers. Deborah had cultivated intimacy with the Father that allowed her to speak on His behalf and be a leader in His plan to save the...
A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 2)

A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 2)

The Generosity of the Giver “Look what I found this morning!” It was my birthday and my dad held up an envelope containing five 20-dollar bills with a note that read “Go enjoy a meal with your family!” I immediately remembered a conversation two days prior in which my mom asked what I wanted to do to celebrate and only two words had come to mind: Korean BBQ. I would have loved to enjoy a little Korea town special with my family but knew taking my 7-person family to such a meal was beyond the financial parameters of the question. That birthday is so memorable to me because I didn’t consciously step out in faith or even ask God for that money—He just gave it because He knows me and because He loves me. It was such a trivial desire but the God of the universe did not overlook it; rather, true to His character, He displayed His generosity. It wasn’t the first or last time an anonymous envelope, literal or metaphoric, appeared with exactly enough to cover an expense in my life—from a small birthday dinner to tens of thousands of dollars for college tuition. My faith grows every time He provides me with housing, a job, a friend, a meal, or a simple encouragement, and remarkably it’s always in perfect timing. My understanding of God’s character and my desire to emulate it expands with every supernatural experience of His care. My love for Him grows every moment I’m reminded of His everlasting faithfulness. Countless testimonies in the Bible and church family today spur us on to step...
HOPE – IT’S FOR THE PRESENT

HOPE – IT’S FOR THE PRESENT

Relationship with God is an invitation to an active life of adventure, obedience, and trust. Due to the nature of faith, the Christian life is inherently risky and uncomfortable. It requires stepping out and trusting God when the outcome is unknown, and sometimes that same faith requires stillness, waiting, and stewardship. Over the years and more often than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself anxiously striving to turn my present into my most desirable future. This “ideal future” may look like job security and a savings account, or for some it may be adventure or a family, or all of the above. But whether you’re inclined to be proactive, precautious, or improvident, God has a radical plan and hope for your life that you can find rest in. Of course finding rest in this hope is easier said than done. I’ve always loved the concept of hope in an ethereal and theoretical sense—but how do I live in this great hope and expectation without growing restless in the present? Why is it so tempting to determine my actions based on my own calculations and the outcome I want? Here is where I’ve found breakthrough: Where I’ve made a conscious decision to trust God with everything, and continued to make that choice daily, without reservation. When I’ve placed the highest value on my heart and my relationship with God, rather than my actions or my future. I love this quote: “We usually focus on what we’re doing or where we’re going, but God’s primary concern is who we’re becoming in the process” – Mark Batterson Viewing the present as...
AN UNEXPECTED FAMILY

AN UNEXPECTED FAMILY

I have a very distinct memory of lying on the Lomelino’s sofa one night surrounded by people chatting and kids playing after dinner. I was overcome with a tangible peace and sense of belonging as my ears focused in on the song in the background, which played “I’ve finally found where I belong.” I closed my eyes and thanked God for somehow creating this little community for me in Isla Vista, which only three months prior I had not known at all. That night was powerful because in that moment I knew there was nothing I could do or say that would lessen the love I felt and in that, I realized what home could feel like apart from an actual place. I felt accepted and understood in a way that made me never want to leave. Concurrently, I felt empowered with an urgency to leave and share this quality of life with the rest of the world. It’s the perfect combination: to be secure and at home in your identity as a son or daughter, and altogether believed in and supported. The result can only be a bold and fearless life committed to sharing that same love with every person you encounter. This experience, the mindset established through it, and the lifestyle that follows, is one that catalyzes a Jesus movement—and it begins with fathers and mothers. We were each created to experience love, belonging, and acceptance in Christ, and therefore in family (biological and otherwise). God promises to set the lonely in family, and that’s what He was doing in the living room that day. The Lomelinos...

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