Tag Archive: worship


Christmas is almost here! While this can be a super exciting time, it can bring a unique set of challenges. Normal schedules are interrupted. Many gather with people who may not usually be in town. Different parties and activities are planned. School is out!  You may look forward to what is planned. You may be struggling to think through the next week and a half. Wherever you find yourself, in your particular situation, there is one important question to answer.  Will you worship Jesus this Christmas?

Hit the pause button on that question for just a moment… and keep reading! Remember, every time we have an opportunity to hear the Gospel communicated is an act of GRACE from God directly upon our lives. It is

“…the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Earth is a visited planet. Humanity had chosen sin and every person born was (and is) born separated from God, under judgment, and enslaved to sin.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Romans 5:12 (NLT)

God Most High clothed himself in flesh and came down as a human. Jesus the Son of God and of Man fulfilled every one of over 400 prophecies that had been prophesied about a coming Savior. Jesus walked the most difficult path in his 33 years any human has ever faced as he was tried in every way, facing every temptation known to any person. Hebrews 4:15.

“He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:3 (Another prophecy that Jesus fulfilled).

Jesus was different. Jesus never sinned. At the end of 33 years, Jesus carried out God’s plan and willingly died at the hands of sinful men. During his death, God’s Word says that Jesus took on his own body the sins of humankind. Jesus bore our sin and was punished in our place so that we have a chance to live in relationship to God. God Most High accepted Jesus spilt blood as enough to pay for sin.

“For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22         

This is the choice every person will make: Choose to accept Jesus Christ as the one who saves you, or chose to reject Jesus Christ. Praise God, he came so near. He knows our suffering and he did not leave us in a hopeless situation!

 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. “Romans 8:1-4 (NLT).

What does the Gospel mean for your Christmas this year?

If you have chosen Jesus, you have chosen his authority. There is something so AWESOME and COMFORTING about the fact that Jesus gets to be in charge! We have the ability to respond to ANY and EVERYTHING that we may face! His Word teaches us how to face any situation and please him, and his counsel is perfect. Responding to your trials or your joys God’s way will only ever be good and right for you! Think of how valuable Jesus is to your life. He actually IS our life. So, in response to a PRECIOUS, LOVING, INVOLVED, WORTHY Savior, who gave away his life to own your life, you can choose to worship him by deciding, “YES, what I am facing is extremely hard for me… I am in a habit of responding to what I feel by sinning, but Jesus deserves my worship, so through his grace I will choose to serve him instead of serving myself. If Christ is your Savior, try choosing love and thankfulness when as an act of worship when things feel difficult. Think of unique ways to be loyal to God instead of to sin habits in your specific situation.

This God that gave up his Son, who was most precious to him, to save us, is worth any cost! Let’s celebrate the Christmas by giving God our worship!

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Stand in Awe

 What I’m about to share I have wrestled with for weeks. I was afraid that by sharing this, my heart would become prideful. But as I sit here and write I can sincerely testify that none of this is a result of anything I have done, or anything I will do, or anything I could even be close to capable of doing but what I have seen is all a work of God, that in God’s awesome love and grace which I cannot fully understand, nor am I worthy of it, God has placed me here. As I wrestled with whether or not to share this today, I’ve been humbled and convicted. I am reminded that even the rocks cry out in praise to God, so how can I be silent about the awesome works that He has done in my life. (And I ask myself how could I have ever doubted Him?) How much more then should we be filled with awe at the greatness of God and tell of His glory. I think about the many people who God healed in the New Testament. I think I now see how much their hearts were ready to burst in awe struck wonder at what Christ had done in their lives. How could they be silent after encountering God Almighty?!?! That is where I stand now. I am at that place right now that if the rocks cry out in testimony of God’s greatness so must I!


God has taken a broken, hurt, torn up girl and performed an awesome work of redemption, restoration and healing throughout the short 28 years of my life. I can speak with the Psalmist as He says in Psalm 18..”The cords of death encompassed me. And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me; The snares of death confronted me.” That was my life. Full of torment, full of hopelessness, full of brokenness, full of disaster. But PRAISE GOD, that now I can say with the psalmist what is said later in Psalm 18, “THE LORD LIVES, AND BLESSED BY THE ROCK; AND EXALTED BE THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.” He delivers, He lifts up, He rescues, He shields us, He strengthens us, He lights our way. He conquers all, He hears our cries and because of this and ONLY because of this I “give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, and I will sing praises to Your name.” What does God have to do in our lives for us to see that He is God Almighty, He is Sovereign Lord, He is the Most High God. He had to take me to the darkest of darkness and prove Himself more times than I can count. Don’t let that be You! Proclaim His work in your life to the nations, not out of selfish pride, but out of the depth of humility and praise stand in awe! Let Your heart be filled with wonder and let Him take you to heights you could never have thought up yourself! By the GRACE and MERCY of God He loves to take us to a place of complete brokenness and unworthiness to a place of staring in full view of God’s awesome greatness. In Philippians 2, it speaks of God the Fathers plan and purpose for the life of Jesus the Son. God plan, His sole purpose of Jesus’ self-sacrificing gift to us through the cross was “that at the name of Jesus at the name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow, for those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of Gd the Father.” His greatness extends throughout eternity! So I ask you, what is your victory story???? Let’s surrender it to God and let Him amaze us at how far He will take His awesome work and declare it to those around us if we will just allow Him to take the drivers seat!!!! Stand back, looking up to heaven, hands off the steering wheel, and prepare to be amazed. Stand in AWE!

Think about this…what are some things that you feel you couldn’t live without? TV, the Internet, a dating relationship, drugs, facebook or myspace, cutting? The list could go on and on. Let me tell you, there are so many things today that we can put before our relationship with God. Anything that we feel like we can’t live without and put our dependence on or trust in more than God is an idol.


Well…my blades was an idol that I held close for about 10 years of my life. I would think about it constantly, and sometimes would be so dependant on it that I would take it with me wherever I went. I was consumed by it. I put my trust in a worthless little blade. I trusted it to take away the hurt and to solve all of my life’s problems. Satan would use this little blade to convince me that if I just used it on myself and hurt myself that I would feel better, that I could escape life’s problems. Because as Satan whispered things in my ear like….you’re worthless, nobody loves you, nobody should love you, ect. I fell into the trap of temptation and sin. I decided to take matters in my own hands and punish myself. I started more and more to rely on what Satan was telling me about myself and my circumstances than on the ultimate, absolute truth God has promised us in His Word. I was sinning by trusting in something other than God and His Word. I also was disrespecting God because I was so self absorbed in my struggles and believing the lies in my mind that I failed to appreciate God’s gift through Jesus‘ blood that He shed on the cross. That blood was shed to cover my sin and yours. It didn’t need my feeble, sinful attempts at making up for the sinful person I was or the mistakes I had made. I didn’t rely on God’s love and forgiveness through the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross.


In Hebrews 9 and 10 it talks about how those under the old covenant in the Old Testament would sacrifice animals as an attempt to clear them of their sin. The high priest would go into innermost part of the tabernacle for worship (the holiest of places) once a year but He would take with him the blood from a slaughtered animal as a payment for the sins of himself and for the people. But in Hebrews 9:9 it says that these sacrifices were unable to make the worshipers perfect in conscience. Meaning the blood did nothing, it didn’t take away their sin. It goes on in Hebrews 9:11 though that it is different for us because we are under a different covenant which is the new covenant which sole basis is the blood of Jesus. He is our perfect high priest, to be the payment through His blood on the cross. He died so we could be in constant personal fellowship with Him and not have to go through anyone else but Jesus to be freed from the bondage of our sin. In chapter 10:8 it says that Christ gave an ultimate sacrifice and offered us ultimate forgiveness through His death on the cross, we only need to come to Him and accept that forgiveness. Which means I didn’t need to make myself bleed through cutting to pay the penalty for my sin because Christ already did that for me through His blood on the cross. Back in Hebrews 9:14, it goes on to say after speaking of the old payment for sin through the old covenant…”How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” God offers us forgiveness for every mistake we have ever made and every mistake we will ever make, but that’s not an excuse to just go and sin, but instead, if we are truly living for the Lord we will long for that close relationship with God through Jesus. His forgiveness should draw us into a closer relationship with Him so that we serve Him with our everything.


So I want you guys to think about your own lives, what do you put before God in your life that you need to put aside in order to fully be surrendered to God? Do you know what it is to have that relationship with Him? Have you accepted that you can’t pay for your sin on your own and that you need Christ? I challenge you to not to spend years of your life as I did, believing the lies of Satan instead of the infallible truth of God’s Word. Be totally surrendered to Him.

 I know many of you struggle with physical eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia but is your spiritual life also disordered? There is a book that I have recommended on the Speak Don’t Bleed website called “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves” by Erin Davis. As I was reading through this book, something stuck out to me. In the book Erin talks about our beauty and how it’s affected by media. Erin talks about her struggle with a distorted self image. One of the chapters in the book is about Eating Disorders. One thing stuck out in this chapter of the book…in the chapter Erin parallels physical eating disorders with spiritual ones! So I wanted to devote this devotional to talking about how we can have a spiritual eating disorder and what we can do to be spiritually well nourished.

Spiritual Bulimia

In the book, Erin asks these questions that I think we all need to consider…“Do you binge on Jesus? Do you get filled up at camp or weekend retreats or on Sunday morning and then purge so that you can live the life you want to live? Instead of getting a steady dose of Christ through His Word, do you count on filling feasts of God every once in a while?”

We need to be constantly fed through God’s word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers. This will give us the proper Spiritual nourishment that our mind, bodies and hearts need!

So consider this, are you a spiritual bulimic? What steps do you need to take to make sure you are getting spiritual nourishment?

Spiritual Anorexia (Col. 1:9-11)

Consider these questions, “Do you starve yourself of Jesus altogether? Do you go weeks and months without seeking Him in prayer, fellowshipping with other Christians, or digging into the Word? ”

I don’t know about you but I have had this experience. I have just gotten away from God. Let me tell you, missing one day of spending quiet time with God can throw you off and that one day can turn into a few days and then weeks. We need to be consistently, daily in the Word of God so that we can come to know Him more. He is our Father! What would happen if you didn’t spend time with your earthly father? You feel like you don’t really know him and you aren’t developing that relationship with him, well that’s the same way it is with God!

Are you a spiritual anorexic? How will you take action and get your spiritual nourishment?

Spiritual Stress Eating

Are you a crisis pray-er who runs to Jesus only when the going gets tough? Do you neglect Him when life is smooth but seek Him with urgency when the road gets rocky?

So many of us struggle with this one, don’t we? We just go to God when things get tough or when we need His help. But is this really growing a relationship with your Heavenly Father? How would you feel if your friend just came to you when they needed help and didn’t talk to you any other time?

So are you a spiritual stress eater? What action will you take to grow in your relationship with God?

Just like physical eating disorders can destroy your body, spiritual eating disorders can keep you from having the kind of relationship with God that God desires for us to have.


Interview with Erin Davis about her life experiences and her book “Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves”.

1. What was your purpose in writing the book “Graffiti”?

“Graffiti” was originally written as a Bible study for a small group of girls I mentored. One of the girls in the group said that she would really like to learn how to feel better about her body. I started doing some research and couldn’t find a resource that approached the issue with the depth and Biblical insight that I knew was necessary. So, I wrote my own study. That six-week study changed my life. It changed the lives of the girls in that small group, and God has been so faithful to multiply that message. Ultimately, my desire is to see young women understand their value from God’s perspective. They can do that by really digging into His Word to see what He has to say about their value. It isn’t as simple as “God loves you just the way you are.” But He does love you, He did create you purposefully, and He does dedicate a lot of time in His Word to assuring you of your value. My purpose is to use those assurances found in Scripture to help girls develop a sense of value that isn’t shaken by the world’s standards or the opinions of others.

2. What has been the biggest struggle in your life and how have you overcome?

“Graffiti” is really the depths of my heart written down for all of the world to read. By far, my biggest struggle has been to see that I have value that isn’t dependent on what I weigh, what I accomplish, or what others think of me. That struggle has manifested in many different ways in my life including destructive relationship patterns, self-hatred, and disordered eating. Even though I accepted Christ at the age of 15, I still spent years battling anxiety and frustration because I didn’t understand my value. It wasn’t until I really began to study the Word of God that I found freedom in this area. It really didn’t matter what others told me about how God saw me, I needed to read it myself. God’s Word truly is living and active. Once I started reading that living Word and discovered all that God says about me, those chains really started falling off.

3. What advice would you give to girls who are struggling with their relationship with God and understanding their worth to Him?

Read His Word, read His Word, read His Word! That seems like a simple solution for me just to say “read your Bible more,” but I truly believe that His Word has the power to free us like nothing else does. Start reading it with the specific intention of learning what it says about you. It is no overstatement to say that from Genesis to Revelation, God declares your value to Him. I would also encourage you to be very careful what alternate messages your allow into your heart. Everyone knows that the World is pushing for a standard of beauty that isn’t real. But that doesn’t keep us from striving for it does it? Obviously we can’t hide in a hole and never see another airbrushed model again. But you can take some steps to guard your heart. Did you know that 70 percent of the women who look at fashion magazines reported feeling depressed, guilty, and ashamed of their bodies after less than five minutes of flipping through the pages of those magazines? Additional research has linked exposure to the unrealistically thin, young, and often airbrushed female bodies consistently portrayed in the media to depression, loss of self-esteem, and the development of eating disorders in women of all ages. That doesn’t seem like harmless entertainment! Make a conscience effort to get rid of as much of the World’s beauty messages as you can. That may mean that some magazines, television shows, or movies need to go, but I promise it is worth it! Finally, I would encourage girls to find a mentor who loves the Lord and can be a truth speaker when they are wresting with something. I have had mentors in my life ever since I came to know Christ and they have had a huge impact in my development of a women seeking to know and please the Lord. Believe it or not, your mom might be a great mentor (she wasn’t always your momma, she has been where you are!) If not, a friend’s mom might be great. Or your pastor or youth pastor’s wife might be a good fit. Just find a woman who is faithfully serving Christ, is committed to the Truth found in His Word and who you wouldn’t mind sharing a few cups of coffee with. And then…get talking!

 (This devotional blog was written by Amber)

Hey Girls! I’m so excited for the opportunity to write this month’s devotional! Since trusting God was a topic for a chat we had a few weeks ago and since many of you seemed to really be encouraged by the Overcome video that I recently posted on the forum, I thought I’d combine the two to tell you a little about my experience with both. For those of you who have watched the video (and for those of you who haven’t I’ve attached it below) you know that my church over the last two years has endured scandal, murder and terror…and it all happened within the span of 13 months. It started with waking up one morning to find my pastor plastered all over the media and our church, the top headline on just about every newspaper and TV site nation-wide. The details that follow were grueling and are still sometimes hard for me to talk about because the trauma continued for so long before resolution came. But in that moment…in the midst of grief and pain, I had a life-changing decision to make. Would I walk away from the anguish and humiliation we were walking through as a church and find another place to call my house of worship, or would I, with my church family, walk through the valley pained with trauma and fear of not knowing what was to come? I had no idea how long it would take before the trauma ended…I certainly never dreamed it to be a full 13 months, nor did I have any idea that a year into it a gunman would come into our building right after services and murder two of our teenage girls. I’m actually thankful that I didn’t know how long it would endure when I internally agreed to walk it out because I don’t know if I would have made it. But all I could do is walk through one awful day at a time convicted deep inside somewhere by the fact that we were a family, and families stick together.

Through it all, I was in a way forced to lean on God for my strength, because I certainly didn’t have enough on my own.

But I’ll tell you what…I found a new capacity and depth of trusting God during that 13 months than I‘ve ever known before. It took huge faith for me to believe that the humiliation we faced, the reputation that was destroyed, the pain we endured would somehow dissipate and that one day God would lift us out of that place and allow us influence once more. And it was by no means an instant process. A few weeks ago, we experienced the 1 year mark since the shooting and while we’ve healed as a church tremendously, many of us are still walking through the pain on a personal level, trying to decipher how we can ever trust another human, another pastor after such deception for so long. And how you can ever know if a person is truly who they claim to be if the person with the most Christian influence in your life who, in my case had been my pastor for over a decade, had been leading a double life.

How do you trust then?

One of the biggest things we’ve learned as a church is to not put our trust in man, but in God and God alone. And I think that’s something we have to learn on a personal level over time and by experience, but if I can in any way encourage you and bring you a long a little farther so that perhaps you don’t have to experience quite as much pain as I have to get there, I beg you to learn from my experience.

See…it was out of our pain that the song “Overcome” was written and has since become the anthem over our church. Taken from Rev. 12:11, it says, “We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony…everyone overcome!” And I believe the family and core people at our church have done that. It completely amazes me to go to church on Sundays and still see thousands of people gathering to worship God, because according to statistics, with all that happened, our building should be closed down and used for storage. But God had more in mind and how thankful I am.

You too can overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony.

Prov 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” On another worship song (I’m a big fan of worship if you can’t tell) it says, “Here in your presence, everything bows before you.” And as I’ve thought about it during this season of life, it’s become a very comforting concept to me. Think about it…EVERYTHING bows before God…all circumstances, all relationships, all situations…your work, your family, your schooling…all your hopes, your fears, your dreams…the mountains, the seas…your pain, your emotions, your desires to self-harm…everything.

Ultimately EVERYTHING must bow before the name of Jesus.

And when I start to think about all that ‘everything’ includes, I find great comfort. I encourage you girls also, to begin thinking about everything in your life that must bow before Christ. Maybe make a list, surrendering them each individually to God. Recently I’ve found myself laying prostrate on my living room floor telling God (and reminding myself) that everything in my life bows before Him. If you’d like, I’d love for you to join me in doing the same. I think it’s a process…a constant proclaiming to God and reminder to ourselves as we let the truth sink deep into our hearts and lives. I would love for you girls to join me in this journey of trusting God. It’s tough…you must be willing to risk it all. But I promise you it’s worth it.

Lay your life before Him, allowing everything to bow before His name. And together, let’s everyone, overcome!

You can find the Overcome Video on Youtube by following these links:

Overcome Story….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9yoKNzBq3g

Overcome Song….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sjYWrpNoCs