I don’t Need Control

This does not happen often, but I actually do not know fully what to write. It’s been a season of very little writing, both on my personal blog and in my journal. I have spent most of my time just pondering and listening and less time writing and speaking, which has actually been extremely hard but also incredibly freeing.

This season life has me in has been one where I have come to see Jesus in ways I have never seen Him before, attributes of God’s character have come alive in unique ways, I might argue this has been one of my favorite seasons of life. Not because it is easy or because I feel like I finally have a grip on life, but because the complete opposite is true; I have absolutely no control in life, everyday is seemingly harder than the last, and I am merely walking by faith without any sight of my next steps.

Months ago, He asked me if I trusted Him, reluctant to give an honest answer, I ignored the questioned. Though, the question lingered still, until that moment I hung my head and said, ‘no.’ He asked me to let go anyway and give up control, and fall into His arms of grace, trusting the unknowns to Him. And so, that is what happened, step by step I’ve been walking this season of unknown, entrusting each step to the One who does know. It’s been the most beautiful journey and honestly it’s been quite freeing as well. I’ve come to know and understand God in ways I never saw before. I am learning I do not need to know the why behind what is happening, but instead can trust the Who. That does not mean asking why is wrong, but I am learning to take one more step forward even when those answers do not come. By taking life one day at a time, I am learning to live in the moment and the importance of being still and relying not on my understanding or knowledge, but solely on Christ for my strength.

I thought the moment I admitted to God I didn’t fully trust Him was the end, but honestly it was only the beginning. Since that moment of raw honesty, it opened up a door to be able to walk through life with so much more confidence. Which sounds like an oxymoron because I literally told God I didn’t trust Him. It took the gut wrenching honest moment to rebuild a day by day trusting God with the unknowns. Since then, the adventures truly have only begun. The next few weeks hold some crazy big unknowns and seemingly impossible outcomes, but I am beyond excited to see where God takes me in this next chapter of life.

Normally I don’t promote this, but I have a tattoo on my back based on 2 Corinthians 5:7, ‘for we walk by faith not by sight.’ And I have been learning how to walk that out day to day. Typically I worry about six months from now and miss what is happening today, but God has been teaching me to look at the present moment and live in the today, to not miss what He has for me each second.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps this is a season of life for you filled with more unknowns and ups and downs and needing to let go of control and fully trust God. I can honestly say, letting go of the control I thought I had was the most freeing moments. Now, it hasn’t been a once and done type of thing, I have to let go daily and ask God to give me the faith to trust Him…and He always does. He comes through faithful every single time without fail. Wherever you find yourself today, let go and rest in God’s grace and love.

Until next time,

~Christi

We’re Still Here!

Hey Hi Hello Peoples of the interwebs!

I am putting up this post to tell you not to worry, Christi and I are still here, and we are looking forward to bringing you content, just on a less regular pace. You see, this summer kind of kicked our butts. Now that we have recovered a bit, Christi and I have decided to step back a little and post once a month on a topic that is currently important to us. We will still be bringing you devotional thoughts, but much less regularly.  If you have questions, concerns or thoughts feel free to either e-mail us, or comment below. We’d love to talk with you!

If anyone is interested in joining our team, so that we can potentially put out more regularly scheduled content, let us know! You can send us an e-mail at mission.millennials@gmail.com

Until next time,
Sarah

GUEST BLOGGER: Gentleness through the Spirit

It may be a day late, but I can promise you it’s worth the wait! Our guest blogger this month is my current roommate and longtime camp friend Megan! She’s pretty darn amazing. I hope her words touch your heart and encourage you! -Sarah

Our theme at Camp Pioneer this summer was life through the spirit. Living by the Spirit helps us to live out the fruits of the spirit, which Paul talks about in Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:16-18:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  

Before talking about what the Spirit brings, Paul wants the Galatians to know that the Spirit is contrary to the flesh. Our sinful nature brings us back to the desires of our flesh, but this is not of the Spirit. The Spirit works inside us, helping us to be Christ centered and use our fruits to serve others. One fruit we use to serve others is gentleness.  

The definition of gentleness is intentional mildness. This is what all of the fruits of the Spirit are about, isn’t it? Being intentional in thought and action. It is often difficult for us to be gentle in our everyday hectic, yet mundane lives. In Scripture we see so many examples in which God uses gentleness. We see God showing His people gentleness as they stray away from Him. We also see God’s gentleness when He sends His only son to die for us so that we may be free. In the beginning of Creation we see God being gentle with His new creation. He forms Adam and Eve, creating them so that they were not just good, but very good. And then they stray from God, as they eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The guilt and fear from this causes them to stray further and hide from God. God is angry, but He is still gentle with Adam and Eve. Although He already knows what has happened, He calls to them and asks for their side. He pursues them despite their faults, and then still takes care of them by clothing them after they have run away (Genesis 3:21).

Despite the fact that we often distance ourselves from God, He is always pursuing us in His great love and gentleness. God was intentional in every one of these situation where He showed grace. We should follow this example and by being intentional to use gentleness with others in our daily lives.

Titus 3:1-2:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

Let the Spirit guide you to gentleness.
Megan Avey

Find our guest blogger on the internet:
instagram: @meganavey
snapchat: @meganavey

But Why?

Have you ever been with a kid who asks a lot of questions? The kind of kid who asks a question, is unsatisfied with the answer, and then asks “But Why?”. The conversation could look something like this:

Kid: Why is the sky blue?
Adult: Because God made it that way?
Kid: But why?
Adult: Well, because God likes the color blue.
Kid: But why is the grass green then?
Adult:  God likes the color green too.
Kid: But why?
Adult: Because He is God and He can like whatever He wants.
Kid: But why?
Adult: Just because.
Kid: Because why?
Adult:…

Obviously, that’s not how they all end up going, but more than likely the ‘adult person’ gives up or runs out of answers. This sometimes ends up with an angered or frustrated adult. In an effort to not become frustrated, it takes a lot of patience and an air of gentleness.

1Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

So we may not get questioned by children about the source of our joy as Christians, but it can be a question asked of us by those we surround ourselves with. Much like it says in first Peter, we need to be careful how we answer this question.

It’s easy to answer this question when we feel hopeful. “I feel this way because my hope is in Jesus, my joy is in Jesus.” Hope and Joy are not something that we create. They are something that is created in and through us by the work of the Holy Spirit. Much like gentleness. The gentleness which we need to use when we are communicating our hope to others.

It’s not something to throw in their faces or to necessarily brag about, but in a respectful manner, with a gentle approach we can answer them with more than a “just because”. Why? It’s because we know the answer. We know exactly where it comes from.

Our hope comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth.

Until next time,
Sarah

You Are Faithful

Faithfulness.

 

This word has meant more to me this summer than I think I realize. If you have ever spent more than a couple days working at a camp, it comes as no surprise when you hear story after story of things not going as planned. Daily plot twists ought to be expected, yet I am always caught off guard when things do not go according to whatever was planned.

This summer was not at all what I expected. That’s not to say it has not been good, but it’s been far harder, far more straining, far more difficult than any summer prior. There are many reasons for this, some my fault, other reasons are circumstances outside of my control. But needless to say, one thing has always remained…God has always been faithful to meet me wherever I am. Whether I am curled in a ball sobbing my eyes out because of a mental breakdown or laughing with fellow chiefs as we link arms and serve at camp, never once has God left my side.

I am learning that He is always faithful. I am learning in the moments where I believe life is falling apart, He is simply rearranging my life puzzle to fit His plan for me. I am learning when expectations fall short, God does not love me less or leave me hanging…He is still there. His faithfulness is not contingent on my ability to perform in life. I am learning to live out of God’s faithfulness because that is where the most peace comes from.

This is another short post, but I hope and pray wherever you find yourself today, that you see God’s faithfulness to you.

Love you friends,

Christi

Taste and See

It’s been a crazy, crazy summer. So once again this post is going up later than usual, but I hope it’s worth it :). 

We’ve been looking at goodness this month and there have been so many good moments at camp… And also too many bad moments. But the number one thing that keeps running through my head comes from Psalm 34:

Taste and see that the Lord is good

When the summer gets rolling full speed and time escapes me everyday, I usually hit the snooze button in the morning and spend less time with Jesus. At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but then days go by and seeing the goodness of God dwindles a little more each day. Now, that doesn’t mean he isn’t any less good, it simply means I am making an idol out of my desire for sleep and putting it above my need to taste and see how good God is. 

This post is short because my off period is short, but I hope you take time to truly taste and see how good God is. Dive into His word. Start in one of the Gospels and look to see who Jesus is and what he has done. As you look for God’s goodness, you end up seeing it all around, even when life doesn’t look good. 

Love you friends! 

Christi

GUEST BLOGGER: OMG

I’m very pleased to introduce you to our next guest blogger. It’s my brother Ben! Ben is an incredible young man, and has always been one of my favorite humans on the planet. Yes, I’m totally biased. I am excited for you to read his post! – Sarah

If you were to listen to a conversation between two people, I would bet that it wouldn’t take too long for you to hear the phrase “Oh my God!” used in some form — whether it be “Oh my God”, “Oh my gosh”, “Oh my goodness”, or just plain old “OMG”.  This is one of the most frequently used phrases in our vernacular, and, in my opinion, one of the most interesting.

To further explain why this phrase interests me so, let’s examine one particular form: “Oh my goodness”.  Many people use this form so that they don’t use God’s name in a negative way, in order to abide by the law God put forth in the Second Commandment.  While this is admirable, I don’t think that using this form completely succeeds in keeping the Second Commandment.  Sure, ‘goodness’ is not the Lord’s name.  However, ‘goodness’ is God embodied in a single word.  God is goodness, and goodness is God.  Substituting ‘goodness’ for ‘God’ changes nothing, because there is nothing in this universe that better exemplifies ‘goodness’ than God.

Words and the way that we use them have always been interesting to me.  I’ve found that most of the time, we don’t fully understand everything that we say.  Sure, we know definitions and things like that, but, when we look closer, our words can mean a lot more than we think.  So next time when you’re shocked or surprised by something, think about what words you use to express it.  Goodness may seem worldly, but it’s actually not.  It’s the perfect embodiment of our Savior in just one word.

Until next time,
Ben

Find our guest blogger on the internet:
instagram: @benjamakosy
snapchat: @benjaminstephen
twitter: @benstemak

When Bad is Actually Good

Hey friends!

First of all, SO sorry this post is a couple days late. As you know, both Sarah and I work at summer camps and the past few weeks I had no real access to a computer with working wifi and my time has been incredibly limited. So, here is my post, late on a Saturday evening.

This past week I drove a little over 200 miles from one camp in WV to serve at my churches missions week back in PA. This is my second time helping at mission week and I knew from previous years that this week is quite possibly the hardest week of the summer…but this week was so much harder than I ever expected. Yet, in the bad times, ultimately it was all so, so good.

Brief explanation of mission week…we take our youth group to a camp that runs a day camp through an organization in a close by city. The kids who come to this camp come from incredibly hard backgrounds and their family life is usually messed up in ways most of us may never understand. Our youth become the kids counselors for about four hours during the day for a day camp program where we teach them about Jesus, play games, have free time, and simply invest time and love into the kiddos. Once the kids leave, we continue the week with a regular summer camp for our youth. I hope that made sense.

Camp life is beyond exhausting on every level. This past week was my fifth week working in a camp environment and it was the absolute hardest seven days of my life. But they were also some of the best. I’m beginning to see that the bad times in life are actually really good. Between putting out fire after fire, solving conflicts, leading discussion groups when my cup is on E, and fighting alongside the highs and lows of camp life with youth and leaders, I could easily say this was at times a bad week. But it was actually one of the best weeks because I was stretched into a place of utter dependence on God and relied on prayer to make it through each day.

I wish I had a more lengthly post to tease this out more, but alas, it’ll have to wait until next post. For now, know that your bad days are actually good because God works all things for our good.

~Christi

Badness Levels

The opposite of good is bad, so does that make the opposite of goodness, badness? When I think of the word ‘badness’ I think of the scene in Lilo & Stitch where Lilo pulls out the piece of paper and draws a scale of Stitch’s badness level. Let’s just say it’s not very good.

So I started thinking. What if that’s how God measured our sins? He pulled out His big red pen and filled in a diagram that would display how full of sin we are. That wouldn’t be very good either. But when God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, that level went way down. It became nonexistent. Our badness levels became full blown goodness levels.

Now that’s not to say we’re by any means perfect. In fact we’re far from it. We sin, and constantly fall short of the glory God has intended for us. But we are so richly blessed in the fact that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8b God knows we are imperfect. He knows we fail. He knows all of our sins and shortcomings, yet he still loves us. He still chooses to forgive us. Even at those times when we think there’s no hope left for us. God still loves us, and will continue to forgive us.

Until next time,
Sarah

P.S. Sorry this is short, summer season means camp season which means a lot less time spent sitting behind a computer!

 

The Kindness of God

Currently I am sitting on my day off in a nice air conditioned room…at Toyota. Not starbucks, somewhere fun, or with food…nope, for the last 5 or so hours, I have been sitting waiting for my car to be fixed and wondering how on earth I am going to afford life. I am so tempted to say God is not kind right now, to be anxious about big unknowns, wanting food cause I am hangry, and wishing I could be anywhere else doing anything else. But I also sit here reminded of the many names of God, specifically ‘Jehovah Jireh,’ meaning God provides, and am convicted that even when life seems unkind, God’s kindness does not change. In fact, His kindness far surpasses my limited knowledge of the word.

I had the thoughts about the kindness of God going through my mind for a couple weeks now and have been challenging myself to see the kindness of God in the midst of some really hard trials, especially in this specific moment. At first it was incredible hard and it still is hard most days, but the more I prayed asking Jesus to show me Himself, the more I saw his kindness in life and also to me.

As I began praying to see Jesus more, I started realizing He was talking to me throughout my entire day and I was missing it because I was too focused on what is falling apart. I then started remembering different verses talking about just how kind God is…

Ephesians 2:6-7

And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 This was the first verse that came to my mind and it’s one that has carried me through a lot recently. The absolute kindest thing God could ever do is adopt me into His family and call me His daughter, especially when all I have done is curse His name and lived following the prince of the sons of disobedience. Yet, because of the vast kindness in God’s character and love beyond all measures, He chose to make a way for me to no longer be a daughter of disobedience.

When I think about how I was adopted out of complete rebellion and scooped up into the arms of loving kindness, I am spurred on to love deeper, speak more kindly, and let my actions reflect those of my Savior.

Life right now seems unkind and even unfair, but when I dwell more on what God has done for me in His kindness, the less tempted I am see my circumstances as an indicator of God’s kindness toward me. So, sure, life has thrown more curve balls at me the last 4 months and I feel like I am drowning under piles of trials and hardship, but regardless of how I feel or what life looks like, God’s kindness remains constant and abundant.

My challenge to you is the same one I have had for myself, dwell on God’s kindness, not how kind you think life is treating you. Dwell on who you are in Christ, not what your circumstance says you are. Dwell on living out of God’s kindness to you and then pour it onto others.

Love you friends,

Christi