authentic worshipper.

worship is our response and privilege as a Christ follower. it’s not an obligation, but rather a desire and passion for the One who deserves our praise and adoration.

worship is more than a service, personal quiet time, or discipleship group – it’s a lifestyle.

what kind of worshipper are you? what’s your reason for worship? is your worship authentic for Christ? is it heartfelt and true OR is it heartless and fake?

a few years ago, I spent several months studying and teaching about worship. I believe wholeheartedly, we are called to be authentic in our worship. authentic requires us to be different and as Christians, we should be different. authentic sets us apart. authentic is raw. authentic is true. authentic is genuine. authentic is unquestionable evidence.

do you have unquestionable evidence of Jesus Christ in your life? is there without a doubt a difference about you from the world? is the evidence of Jesus and Who He is to you so very evident and displayed in all situations and circumstances of your life? do your reactions, both negative and positive, reflect the One who paid it all on a criminal’s cross for you?

therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –His good, pleasing, and perfect will. – romans 12:1-2

we are called to bring ourselves as a sacrifice to God. following Jesus costs us all something differently… what are you sacrificing in order to freely praise and worship God in an authentic way? sacrifices aren’t easy and were never intended to be easy – following Jesus isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it – worth the sacrifice – worth the cost – worth denying yourself.

do our lives reflect Him? can the world see we have been transformed from the inside out, and that we are not conformed to this world?

you are the salt of the earth. but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. you are the light of the world. a town built on a hill that cannot be hidden. neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven – matthew 5:13-16

salt is a taste changer – a game changer. do we change the taste of a room when we enter? salt makes you thirsty. do people thirst for what we have when they are around us? do we have the unquestionable evidence that there is clearly something different about us that make others crave it?

this should convict and challenge us to desire to have a lifestyle of authentic worship – to be set apart. to be a light that cannot be hidden, no matter how hard the enemy and the world tries. we, as Christians should desire to show people Jesus with our lives, along with words. but if our words aren’t aligned with our actions and His heartbeat, we are missing our purpose and displaying the gospel to the lost world in a false way.

my prayer for our lives as believers is that we become true, raw, authentic worshippers – not mere and fake. the Lord deserves our absolute best and we should desire to fulfill and discern His good, pleasing, and perfect will through our lives. revival will not start with mere, fake worshippers but with true, authentic worshippers that desire Him above all else, and never think of Him as an obligation or a church service.  

saturdays.

yesterday is considered to be one of the saddest days in history. tomorrow is considered to be the absolute greatest day in history. so where does that leave the day that lies in between?

saturday.


Good Friday is a day marked in history where Jesus hung on a tree for you and me. a day where crowds mocked and betrayed Him. a day where every sin on Him was laid. a day where He PAID it all in full, so we could have life.

Easter is a day marked in history filled with victory. a day where Jesus fulfilled the promise. a day where He arose again. a day where His power was shown in the fullest of ways. a day where He defeated the grave.

saturday is a day of unknown. a day of uncertainty. a day of waiting for promises to be fulfilled.

saturday is the day where people questioned, “is what He said really going to happen?” are those promises going to be fulfilled? I often wonder what the disciples thought. did they believe without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus would come back to life the next day; did they have the faith to trust Him fully – to cling to His promises?

we live in this place so very often. we live with so many ‘saturdays’ in our life. we live in the place where prayers haven’t been answered. where circumstances take a complete turn for the worst. where relationships get broken. where children choose a path that leads to destruction. and in these places we do not know what’s coming next. we are in a place of weeping, wondering, and waiting. BUT we have been given promises.

what is our response going to be? are we going trust and rest in the promises of what God has said? God’s ways are higher than our ways. His plans are far better than our plans. He has us in the palm of His hand with our best in mind.

now while we are waiting for our sundays to come, how will we respond?


for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise. – mark 9:31
He is not here, but has risen. remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” and they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. – luke 24:6-9
what shall we say then? are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? by no means! how can we who died to sin still live in it? do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? we were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. – romans 6:1-4
…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – psalm 30:5

 

the cross.

have you ever just simply sat down and ponder the cross in all its’ power and victory?

the cross is what made a way for me. the cross is where Jesus paid it all.

I have thought more and more about the cross lately, the power it holds, and the victory it gives. the cross is where the gospel comes to life. think about that, guys. God sent His only Son to be nailed to a tree so we could have life. not this superficial life we have created here on earth, but a life spent on the streets of gold with our Father living with no more pain and no more tears.

the power and victory within the cross exceeds far past anything I can comprehend. Jesus hung on that tree, suffering in anguish for me – for you. barely breathing, ripped to shreds, thirsting, His wrists and feet nailed to a tree with thorns piercing into His skull… for me – for you.

those three nails hold so much power. the nails did not just prick the surface of Jesus’ wrists and feet, rather they penetrated through His skin, bones, muscles, and deep into the wood to hold the weight – not just the weight of himself, but the weight of the world and our sin.

those penetrations, those nails were for me and for you. think about this for a minute – those nails pierced Jesus, a perfect and innocent Man because of my sins, my wrongdoings when they should have pieced in my skin, my bones, my muscles, and deep into my heart.

y’all this is the gospel.

those three nails give so much victory. our eternity of heaven or hell lies within that tree and those nails. our choice to follow Jesus lies in the realness of the cross: Jesus hung suffering for me – for you.

the power and victory of the cross is not only where Jesus died, but also where every single sin died. He paid it all – everything – all of it, paid. paid in full. He defeated death. He defeated the enemy. we can stand in victory because of the cross.

this is reconciliation. He reconciled it all, the bridge was made at the cross for us to have a relationship with the God of the universe.

this is restoration. we, in our flesh can be restored and made new at the cross through the power of Jesus.

we don’t deserve this. we could never earn this. BUT because of the goodness of Jesus and the graciousness of our Heavenly Father, we have the gift of salvation. God in all His mercy and sovereignty sent His only Son to the cross for me – for you, because of His unconditional, never faltering love for His children.

how can we know this and believe this, yet fail to share the perfect, good news of the gospel? how can we go from day to day without fully living in the goodness of Jesus? embracing him each and every day, loving him with our every part of our being, serving him and his people endlessly, and sharing this perfect, life-changing news to the world?

the reality of the cross, the reality of its’ power, and the reality of its’ victory should not only compel us, but penetrate our hearts to abide and live in His power, His goodness, His sovereignty, and His victory. we are victors through the blood of the lamb, through a man named, Jesus.

but I’m afraid our lives fail to represent the cross – its’ power and its’ victory, and a man named, Jesus.

I urge you to start pursuing this man named, Jesus because your world will be forever changed. but more importantly, He’s goodness and graciousness will penetrate your heart, and compel you to share the power and the victory of the cross.


a cross meant to kill is my victory!


for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God – 1 corinthians 1:18
finally, be strong in the Lord and in His might power – ephesians 6:10
for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory – deuteronomy 20:4
for Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit – 1 peter 3:18
but thanks be to God! HE gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ – 1 corinthians 15:57

the beauty of true friendship.

a true friend is one that you can have the time of your life with. a true friend is one that will let you cry on their shoulder. a true friend is one that will ask the hard questions. a true friend is one that holds you accountable. a true friend is one that is vulnerable with you. a true friend is one that is transparent with you. a true friend is one that sharpens you. a true friend is one that encourages you. AND a true friend is one that loves and refreshes your soul.

the majority of our generation has the wrong perception of what a friend is – I know I certainly did at one point.

a friend isn’t someone who delights in belittling or discouraging you. a true friend is not a person who leaves you hanging when the going gets tough, or when you make terrible, and I mean terrible decision. they may not be the biggest fan or even support your ideas or decisions, but that does not mean they stop loving you and walk away. a friend loves at all times, despite your circumstances (proverbs 17:17). I may not always approve of what my friends choose and decide to do, but I will always love them and be around, no matter what.

as Christians we are called to love. loving someone is a choice. we wake up daily, deciding whether we will love that particular person or not. 1 corinthians 13 illustrates exactly what love is.

love is kind. love is patient. love keeps no record of wrongs. love is not self-seeking or self-pleasing. love is not rude. love delights in the truth. love hopes and perseveres.

now, insert your name each place where the love is. how do you fit in each phrase? I am far from being a friend of love, but I yearn and strive to be that friend. my prayer is you do too.

we must get over this “circumstantial” friendship that we have created. friendship is more than the circumstance going on, or whether it is convenient for you or them or not. genuine friendship is a real and rare thing. it supports in times of struggle and failure, but it also forgives in times of hurt and shame. friendship is about building one another up, pointing one another to the cross, and ultimately, spurring one another to grow deeper in their walk with the Lord.

if you look throughout the bible, what kind of friend is Jesus? He was a friend of great love (galatians 2:20). He was a friend that encouraged, and bore the burdens of one another. woah, I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of friend I want to be.

the quote below has made me think more and more, and  the meaning of what friendship truly is has become clearer and clearer to me. I’m not sure about you, but when I have sin in my life, confessing it to my friends is not on the top of my priority list. but after confessing it to the Lord, we should be open and vulnerable with our friends – we will get to that in a second.

“you cannot become who you are meant to be living in isolation because one man sharpens another”

friends, we must stop being the friends that do not ask one another those hard questions. yes, it can be uncomfortable (especially if you are the one that has to answer them), but it’s necessary when holding each other accountable, and sharpening one another. when asking the difficult questions, do it out of love and without condemnation – you want to do it for your friend’s growth and spiritual wellbeing, not to shame them. when answering the gut-wrenching questions, be honest, open, and vulnerable. your friends are asking because they care and love you. and I pray, they are asking you because they want you to live without chains, bondage, and live in freedom growing closer to Jesus.

y’all, friendship is not always easy. matter of fact, some days it’s so extremely hard. but, on the easy and the hard days, it is more than worth it.

if you know me, you know that I love people. so much. friendship is a very cherished part of my life. but what I love more than the sweet friends I have is the fact we are able and called to encourage and sharpen one another. proverbs says, “as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (proverbs 27:17). I know I fall short in this category so often, but think of the world we would be living in if were truly putting this into practice. it would alter the way we love and interact with people in such a vast way.

I want to encourage you to sharpen your friends, to stick closer than a brother, and to stand through the good, the bad, and the ugly. it’s hard, I’ll be the first to admit it. it takes work, discipline, and selflessness. it takes time out of your schedule to lend your ear or shoulder to cry on. be that friend and find those friends. pouring out and investing in true friendship is a calling for each of us, and I urge you to be that friend; however, if you are not investing in friendships that pour into you just as much, you will be drained and exhausted. find the rarest and truest friends because man, is it worth it.

do you desire to be that type of friend? a friend who challenges, loves, supports, sharpens and sticks closer than a brother?


a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. – proverbs 17:17
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. the life I now live in the body, i live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – galatians 2:20
as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – proverbs 27:17
… but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – proverbs 18:24

why go 1500 miles.

traveling to share the gospel should be an overflow of our hearts, and a call God has placed upon our life for that particular time, season, and trip.

if you know me, you know that one of my greatest blessings and deepest desires is missions. I absolutely love spending days and weeks on the “mission field”. I would be lying if I said it was happy, full of excitement, and refreshing all the time. yes, it is all of those things + SO much more, but it’s also tiring, emotional, physically, and spiritually draining. waking up before the birds gets harder and harder each morning you’re there. all the car problems and changes in the schedule make you more and more flexible (and sometimes irritated) by the day.

BUT it is all so worth it. every tear shed. every car problem. every change in schedule. every night with one less hour of sleep. it is ALL worth for every soul touched. every soul impacted. every soul with a new seed planted. every soul saved. those very souls are what makes it all so undeniably worth it.

man. I pray that I can express my heart to you adequately, but without doubt, I know I will fall so short of being able to.

I have been asked more times than not

  • why go all the way there?
  • why not stay around here?
  • are you sure you want to go 1500 miles?

I have answered those questions various times with multiple different answers. the more I think about those questions, the more I ponder on the why. why do we go 1500 miles away? why do we go in the hot summer and very cold winter? why do we spend our Christmas traveling in a van with people besides our family?

I finally came to this conclusion… if we all had that attitude, who would go? who would go and build relationships with the Navajo people in a place that most people have no idea where it is on a map? who would go love those people in a way they’ve never known? who would feed their bellies in the mornings and the afternoons? who would go tell them about grace and mercy? who would go share the goodness of Jesus?

if I don’t go and you don’t go, who will? I started this post off by saying I love nothing more than being on the “mission field”. I purposely put those two words in quotes. church, we must stop thinking that our “mission field” is 1500 miles, 3 connecting flights, and a train ride away. as Christians we are called to be on mission day in and day out. we are living in our mission field. we are called to share the gospel right where we are, right where God has planted us. and if we don’t share to the ones around us, in our everyday circle, we will never be able to share 1500 miles, 3 connecting flights, and a train ride away either.

woah. let’s read that again.

we are called to share the gospel right where we are, right where God has planted us. and if we don’t share to the ones around us, in our everyday circle, we will never be able to share 1500 miles, 3 connecting flights, and a train ride away either.

when we grasp that, truly grasp it, I believe wholeheartedly that our lives will be rocked and dramatically changed. we will desire to share to the people we come in contact with throughout the week whether that’s on the ball field, in the office, at the doctor, or in the grocery line. and if your desire is not to share the greatest news of all, why? ask yourself why your deepest desire is not for others to come and know the One who paid the way for us, the One who lavishes underserved grace upon us, and the One who forgives and loves us unconditionally.

going 1500 miles is phenomenal, and more than needed. BUT if you’re only going there and sharing, and doing nothing the other 50+ weeks of the year, we have a problem – more importantly, we have a heart issue. after all, the community you are in those other weeks is your Jerusalem.

traveling to share the gospel should be an overflow of our hearts, and a call God has placed upon our life for that particular time, season, and trip.

so, I say all of this to ask you, WHY? why are you going? why aren’t you going? why are you sharing to the ones around you? why aren’t you sharing to the ones around you? check your heart, are your motives clean and pure? are you aching for souls to be saved in your hometown and for the souls that 1500 miles, 3 connecting flights, and a train ride away too?

I’m thankful for the opportunities to travel 1500 miles away, but I pray for more opportunities in my everyday world that I’m in the other 50+ weeks of the year.


therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8
and he said to them, “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Mark 16:15

the joys of being in the middle of a place I never, ever wanted to be.

the joys of being in the middle of a place I never, ever wanted to be.

maybe you too are in a place that you never, ever thought you would be, and where you most definitely did not want to be. maybe that’s exactly where you are right now, or maybe that is where you are headed, or maybe you have already been there. but, I can promise you one thing, if you haven’t been in that place – you will, it’s just a matter of time.

as I sit in my new placement for student teaching, I look at all eighteen little third grade faces. they all come from a different world – different place. different home-life. different support system. different ability level.

as I have realized how different they all are, I have also realized that God has created each of them uniquely with a very specific purpose. I pray that each of them find who He is and surrender their life completely and solely to Him, despite their differences. I pray that each day over the next several months I show them Jesus, and make them see that there is something different about me. when they realize who He is and who He has called them to be, their worlds will radically change. they will see that He is good no matter the circumstance, the home-life, the support system, the ability level. they will understand He has created them for a purpose. they will hear Him as He reveals His plans and which paths to take.

wow. I never, ever wanted to be in this place, but I am so grateful that God knew I needed to be in this exact place, at this exact time. I needed to see and learn and grow and have a burden for each of these children. I needed to realize the urgency for Him in their lives and the urgency among this school.

over the last several weeks, tragedy has hit for so many of these precious kids. for one, her mom was killed unexpectedly in a car accident. for another, she was picked up by defax instead of her parents. for two, they were sent to the office for writing cuss words (but can we expect anything else when this is their everyday home-life and the example that has been set by their parents?). for another, she was told her grandmother had terminal cancer and only has a few weeks left to live.

I watch these kids and see that they are all so precious not only to me, but to Jesus. they are precious in His sight. they are fearfully and wonderfully made. AND, they all are in need of all the same things: to be taught, to feel safe, to know someone believes in them, and ultimately, to be loved.

obviously, I want to academically teach each of these students. I want them to excel in math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. I want them to leave my class knowing how to multiple two and three digit numbers, I want them to understand the concept of magnetism, I want them to know the major rivers in the US, I want them to read fluently at or above their level, I want them to write complete sentences and know how to write a paragraph using RACE, but I want to teach them so much more than academics. I want to teach them that this world does not revolve around them, that showing love and kindness is far better than treating people rudely, that encouraging one another is a blessing, that having a hard work ethic will get them far, and that to succeed in life is up the them – not their parents, friends, or teachers.

I want each of these kids to know that they have a safe place within these four walls. I want to teach them that I believe they can do far more than anything they think they can, that they are worth it, that they are smart enough, that they choose their behavior and how they respond to situations, and I believe that the CAN do anything they set their minds to despite anything that comes their way or the way they have been raised.

and ultimately, I want to teach them that they are loved. actually, I must show them that they are loved. loved more than they will ever know by me, but they are loved by a Heavenly Father more than they could imagine. I pray that my life shows that. I pray for opportunities for the students to openly ask about Jesus so I can liberate.

wow. the joy that has come from being in a place that I never, ever wanted to be is far better than anything I could have ever imagined. I encourage you to take a step back from the place you never, ever wanted to be, look to see the joys that have come with it. when you do, I can promise you that you will forever be grateful God placed you there and changed your ‘never, ever wanted to be here’ to ‘I could never, ever imagine life without it’.

I am in the middle of a teeter-totter.

AND it’s a gut-wrenching time of trusting.

let’s face it, I am a planner. I like to plan. I like having a plan. oh, and I love to organize and be organized. even if my plans don’t go as planned, I simply like having a plan. just ask my friends and they will tell you plans are a part of my life. I always have a plan A, plan B, plan C, and maybe even plan D running and spinning through my head at 100 mph – it’s normal, really. I write out TO-DO list daily with what I need to do down to the hour.

6:15-7:15: get up, get ready (clothes were picked out the night before)
7:15-7:30: fix and eat breakfast
7:30-8:00: drive and get to class
8:00-10:45: class
11:00-12:00: homework
12:00-12:30: eat lunch (The Caf)
12:30-2:30: write article review
2:30-3:30: workout
3:45-5:45: babysit
5:45-6:15: drive home, fix and eat dinner (chicken, broccoli)
6:15-7:30: read chapter 12

you get the point. this is my life day by day. I thrive on a routine and having a plan. believe it or not, I love it! some of you can relate, while others of you think I have absolutely lost my mind (& maybe I have – HA)!


I have finally reached my senior year of my undergrad (PRAISE THE LORD)!! oh, and yes, it is my fifth year, but I am so embracing this fifth and final year thing. for the last four years, I have known what was coming. I knew what was next. maybe not to the full extent, but I knew come August, I would be back enrolled into school for the next year. August to May, year after year. and of course, summer plans have changed year to year – mission trips, babysitting, side jobs, staying in my college town, traveling, and so on.

BUT I was never anxious or overwhelmed or consumed with thoughts of, “what’s next” because ultimately, I knew – school and the year after, school.

I say all of that to bring me to my point. this fifth and final year is here. it’s happening and moving so quickly. I am already a month in. I have relatively seven months left until the next chapter of my life. SEVEN. y’all, seven months is a snap of the fingers. it’s coming and approaching so quickly. AND I am not ready.

I feel like I have been spun around five times while being blindfolded and placed on a teeter-totter – not knowing which way to go. two ways will have me falling overboard, while the other two will have me getting way off balanced and heading drastically, full force into an unknown place. I am in the middle of that teeter-totter. I have to stand still, not moving in any of the four directions and simply wait.

oh, what a hard thing to do. it’s a beautiful time of waiting, but it’s a gut-wrenching time of trusting. I have to put my full faith in Jesus. (side note: as christians, we are great at trusting Him with some aspects, but we love to hang onto some as well. we have to let go. hand it over. set ourselves free of whatever we are clinging to. have we forgotten that He truly is a good, good Father and has the very best intentions and plans for His children?) I have to trust Him with every ounce of me. He is the one guiding me. even though I feel so lost and without a plan, I have to remove this blindfold and turn my FULL focus on Jesus. I have to believe that His plans are far bigger and better, far grander and filled with wonder, and more than I could ever in a million years do on my own even with all of my hour by hour, day by day plans.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light for my path. – Psalm 119:105

I believe wholeheartedly God is calling each of us in this season to find a deeper, stronger faith in Him. to learn what it means to have faith when you cannot see the next steps, when you don’t know what tomorrow will look like, and when you have no job applications pending. to know He will provide. He will guide. He will light the way, one step at a time. Psalms 119:105 says a lamp for my feet, not a spotlight. He is lighting up the path one step at a time. I often think if I could see much further than the one step, I may run the opposite way!

y’all, Jesus will never leave us to find the path on our own. He is holding our hands each and every step of the way. AND eventually, all those one little steps lead to His one big, purposeful plan.

let’s be real, I have a plan come May, but it’s MY plan – not Jesus’ (Proverbs 19:21). who knows, it could actually be His plan, or some of my plan could be part of His plan. right now I am called to wait. simply wait on Him to reveal His plan. His will. His purpose. I would love nothing more than Him to reveal that plan right now in this instance, but if that were the case, I would miss the lesson and the growth behind the waiting. so here’s to the next stage, whatever that may be and in whatever time He shall choose to reveal His perfect, perfect plan.

 

originally posted on The Odyssey Online: September 13, 2016 by Allee Worley