Yeah, me too.

How many times have we been disobedient to God, because we believed something that was not true? I know that I have believed lies that caused me to walk away from God’s will in my own life, and maybe you have too. We arent alone. We’ve all heard of Moses – burning bush, splitting the Red Sea, Pharaoh, Egypt, etc, but do we think about how Moses too, believed the lies? Moses said “yeah, me too.”

In Exodus 3, the Lord tells to Moses that he will lead Israel out of Egypt, His response? Exodus 3 verse 11 says “But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”. Does this sound familiar? Moses believed the lie that he was a nobody. Immediately after Moses said ‘not me’, God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:12). ‘I will be with YOU’ says the Lord. Now, God didn’t answer Moses telling him of the big shot he was, instead he responded with saying that HE would be with Moses. Even in our insignificance, God is not insignificant.

We often have this same excuse. God calls us to witness to someone, and instantly we begin to compare ourselves, saying we are a nobody to them. They’re the boss, or they’re very educated and smart, or they are powerful, and I’m not. Just like Moses, we sometimes say, I can’t fulfill God’s call for me, because I’m a nobody.God isn’t looking for people of titles, he’s looking for people who are obedient and ready to be used by God. God promises that He will go with us, but he does not say He will go for us. It doesn’t matter how insignificant you are, and it doesn’t matter how important the person is that you’re witnessing to. God has promised that you CAN fulfill his call to witness because He will go with you.
So we got number one down now? On to number two. The second lie that Moses was quick to believe made him unqualified was that he had no authority. Once again, God did not challenge Moses’ thought that in himself, he did not have the authority to lead His people. In fact, that the was problem before, was that Moses’ had done it on his own authority. But instead God tells him that he is going under the authority of God Himself. He says, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” If they have any question as to who this God is, He goes on to clarify that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that He was sending Moses. So Moses did not have to worry about his lack of authority, because he was going in the authority of God of the Universe.

Sometimes we have the same excuse. People will think that we are arrogant to think that we have the only truth. People will say, “Who are you to tell me that I’m going to hell?” or “that I’m wrong?” We think that we cannot witness, because we even think that we don’t have the right to push our religion on other people.

Jesus, once again, gives the same answer to this excuse that God gave to Moses. Again, he doesn’t deny that we ourselves don’t have the authority to confront people, but in Mark 16:17, in the same context of the Great Commission, Jesus says, “IN my name they will …” Once again, wrapped up in the statement, “In my name.” is “in my authority” and “in my power.” Jesus promises us that when we witness, we go not in our own strength and authority, but in his strength and authority. You can fulfill God’s call to witness, because you don’t have to go in our your own authority, but you can go in the NAME of Jesus.

God has promised that you can fulfill His call to witness, because you can go in His name, in His strength and authority. Sometimes we try to go in our strength, or our own pride. Sometimes we go trying to build up our own little Kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God. Many people are trying to make a Name for themselves, but when they do they only have their strength to rely on. If you will step out, humbly, and work to build God’s Kingdom, you can fulfill God’s call because He will give you His own authority and power.
The third lie that both Moses and ourselves have been known to believe is the one saying that we are incapable. Moses had a speech impediment, and satan used it to make him think less of himself. God, of course, did not deny Moses’ speech problem, but instead reminded Moses that He was the one who had created Moses’ mouth. This fact relays two truths. First, as the creator, if God could make a mouth, certainly he could fix one – or make provision for one. Second, God was reminding him that as the omnipotent God, he had created Moses’ mouth the way He because He wanted it that way. What Moses saw as a flaw was really a part of God’s perfect design. God does make provision for this incapability of Moses by providing Aaron, his brother, to be his spokesman. God also promises Moses that He will help him to speak and will teach him what to say. So, while the specific answer to the specific need is the provision of Aaron, what God is saying is that He will make provision for incapabilities.

We also sometimes feel like we are incapable. Like Moses, we don’t know what to say, or how to say it. Maybe you missed the Bible studies on evangelism and really don’t have any clue what to say. Or maybe you’re shy and think that you are incapable of speaking to people.

Jesus also promises us that he will make provision for our incapabilities. Matt. 10:18-20. Jesus told his disciples that in their Kingdom work they would be brought before many important people – kings and rulers – but they were not to worry about what they would say in those times, because His spirit would speak through them. Jesus promised them, and promises us, that when we find ourselves in situation we aren’t capable of handling, we don’t have to worry, because He will make provision for our incapabilities.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will also overcome whatever incapabilities you may have and enable you to fulfill God’s call to witness. But he won’t speak for you. You must take the initiative and open your mouth to speak. If you will take the step of faith and open your mouth, the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say.
Despite the qualifications we may feel like we lack, through Jesus we can fulfill His commandments. Matt. 28:18-20 – Jesus calls us all to GO and lead his children out of bondage today. Not a physical slavery, but a slavery to sin. Even though we may not see a burning bush, this call is still individual – for every one of us. It’s true that some people are called to work full time in the ministry, but EVERY believer has a responsibility to do their part in witnessing and sharing the Good News of Jesus with those around them. YOU are called to GO into your world and make disciples, followers of Jesus.

Faith Over Fear

On May 14th, 2016 I competed in a competition through Assemblies of God called Fine Arts, along with many other students from Minnesota, and from my church. I then continued on to compete in Louisville, Kentucky for nationals. I competed in the short sermon category, and I preached on fears. Thinking back on it, what made me decide to preach of fears was totally the Holy Spirit, because going into this competition I had nothing but fear. If I had one take away from fine arts, it would be this – To really live for god, you have to risk everything and have NO FEAR of what could happen. Speaking in front of others is one of my greatest fears, and definitely out of my comfort zone, but God has called us to live lives where we are constantly taking steps out of our comfort zone while having faith and trusting that God will be there with you. To no surprise, God never has left my side when I step out and he won’t leave yours either.

I feared that I would forget my sermon, or that the people watching would think I were crazy. I had all these fears, but I also had this message the Lord laid on my heart, which helped me overcome these. I learned that your fears will consume your faith, but your faith will ALWAYS abolish your fears. No matter what. Put your trust in the Lord and he will not fail you.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Moses tells Joshua of God’s PROMISE. I can imagine this going down at Starbucks modern day and Moses would just be telling Joshua “Hey man! I need you to do this thing, like you need to lead the Israelites, could you do that for me?” And then Joshua would get all defensive saying “Moses, really you want ME to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River?” and Moses would tell him “Yes. You will be the leader of the Israelites, but God goes before you and He is with you! Trust Him.” If I were Joshua, I don’t know how convinced I would be. But hearing the promise that GOD will be with me the whole time would be pretty affirming.

This is the promise that holds true today. We need to not be afraid because God promises us he will never leave us! He won’t abandon us.

When you are afraid that taking a risk for God could result in failure, embarrassment, or despair, you are doubting God’s character and his promises. Before you doubt God, Doubt your fears. Doubt your doubts because they are lies straight from the enemy.

Since the time I could walk, I had been in gymnastics. For probably 12 years, gymnastics was my life. I remember in 2008 I was watching the Olympics and I was in awe of the talent of these athletes. I thought about what I would do if I were competing in the Olympics. Knowing me, I imagined that I would get up on the beam, ready to show the world what I had, and then I would just freeze, I would forget my whole routine and I would have no clue what I was doing. I would begin to doubt myself. Imagine that! You are watching from your TV at home and little Maddie gets up on the beam and just sits there, stunned by fear. Before I even knew it, the judge rang her bell, telling me I had 10 seconds to dismount the beam. I would get down and salute to the judge. My doubts definitely killed that dream. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Now imagine its you up on the balance beam, and that routine is your life. You live your whole life too afraid to take any risks because your fear of failure is greater than your ambition to fulfill what God wants you to do. At the end of your life, God says to you “well yeah, I’m letting you into Heaven, but what did you do for Me on earth? Why did you let for fear determine your faith, instead of Me?”. Your fears will outweigh the calling God has for you if you let it.There’s a lot of risks that I was always too afraid to take in gymnastics, because I let my fears be stronger than my goal. But there were a lot of risks that I did take, sometimes, yeah. I would fall, but I could always get back up somehow. In gymnastics I knew that if I didn’t take risks, or if I just gave up, I would never have any sort of success in the sport.

If we don’t take any risks for God, we are never going to accomplish anything for Him.

We need to be so passionate about fulfilling God’s plan that fear has no room. God doesn’t want you to live a life where your fears keep you from doing anything for him.

God hasn’t called you to a lifestyle of being comfortable. He calls us to completely trust Him so that we can be unafraid to put ourselves in a situation where if God doesn’t come through we would be in trouble.

Let me challenge you with this – Will you risk everything so you can accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God, or will you shy away and be rooted in doubt to the point that your fears consume you, and you accomplish nothing.

Are you willing to risk your friendships? Your reputation? What about your comfort zone?

In the end, It is not the things we did do that we regret in life, it’s the things we didn’t, the risks we didn’t take, the things we let FEAR hold us back from.

Don’t let a human sized fear hold you back from a God sized calling.

 

Knowing God

If you were to tell me a year ago that choosing to lay my sins and struggles at the feet of Jesus would radically change the course of my life forever, I would say that you were crazy, but that is just what happened. A year ago as of yesterday, I decided to stop living for the world and began to live for Jesus. I was at camp in Alexandria, Minnesota where Jeff Grenell spoke about Christ, who was without sin, dying the worst death possible, for our sins and our transgressions. Jesus took that weight among himself so we could know Him and be in relationship with Him. As he preached, God began to convict me of the sins that I let be the king of my life, when Jesus wanted me to let Him be King. In the chapel, on each seat was a piece of duct tape. Throughout the whole sermon, my curiosity rises about what this piece of tape is for. Pastor Jeff Grenell then tells us to write what we struggle with, our sins on the duct tape.

Self-worth. Anxiety.

As I wrote these words on my piece of tape, I began to weep. We all brought our pieces of tape, our “sins” and left them at the cross that night (A huge duct tape cross Jeff has). I then went up to my leader, Rachel. I began to sob as she prayed over me, and that night changed everything. This all went down in about a matter of 4 minutes, while the band played Sinking Deep by Hillsong Young & Free, and the lyrics can’t explain better how I felt in those moments.

“Your love so deep is washing over me

Your face is all I seek, you are my everything

Jesus Christ, You are my one desire

Lord, hear my only cry, to know you all my life.”

In that moment, I felt love like I had never experienced before, the radical love of Jesus Christ. The profound love that is abundant, and will never run out. The infinite love that loves through every circumstance. God coming into and completely transforming my life didn’t end there though.

Although there is a countless number of lessons I have learned in this past year, here are 10 that have become so evident through my experiences.

  1. God is faithful, always. Whether this is financially, in a relationship, or in a certain situation, God is always faithful. He has shown me His faithfulness in all these areas of my life and more in this past year. He is faithful to me, and He is faithful to you too.

Psalms 36:5  Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 

  2. Trying to do things in your own strength will always end with you face first in mud. Not literally, (unless you are me at summer camp trying to do an obstacle course) but it will hurt, and get you nowhere. Rely on God’s strength and you can conquer all things.

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

  3. Another way to end up face first in mud is to try and accomplish anything great for God while in your comfort zone. This year some friends and I began a bible study in our school. This was a HUGE step outside of our comfort zone, and God worked through us. I participated in a program called fine arts where I preached a 5 minute sermon to judges and some other people. Again, huge step of faith, yet God came through and since has used me in ways unexplainable. I recently just returned from El Salvador, where every single moment was a new step out of my comfort zone, whether that included bonding with the other girls on my team, or bonding with the kids desperately seeking to learn about Jesus. My whole team took new strides out of their comfort zone and we saw 1,534 kids come to know Jesus in a matter of 4 days through our obedience to step out and trust God. When you step out of your comfort zone, God is with you in every single step, every stride.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

  4. Don’t hold anything back. Go all out in everything you do and know the Name you are representing as you do it. Work hard in school so God can be glorified, keep a positive attitude at work so God can be glorified. Don’t be afraid of what anyone might say as you live a live representing Jesus.

Colossians 2:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

  5. Worship God in all circumstances. On the mountain as well as in the valley because it is when we worship that our focus shifts from our problems to the problem solver.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

  6. Your identity does not come from the things that you have done or the things people say but rather from the one you belong to and what He says about you. You are a child of God, beloved, honored, and worthy. You were made by God, for God, and until you understand that, life will never make any sense.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

  7. When you put God first, and continue to seek him daily, everything else will work out for the good of God. God doesn’t want religion, He wants a relationship with you. He is reaching out for you and wants you to say “I want to know you more and more every single day.”

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

  8. Many times God isn’t changing your circumstance because he is currently changing YOU within the circumstance. God is shaping and growing you through your current situation.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

  9. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, yet he has something new for you each and everyday when you wake up and prepare your heart for what God has planned. Be open to the things God has prepared for you.

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

  10. It isn’t over until God says it is over. The enemy has no power over your life. Start to believe again, start to dream again. Start pursuing what God put in your heart. Satan wants you to believe that he reigns, when God, who created heaven and earth, who created YOU, reigns.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

 

These truths have remained evident in my life in this past year of growing and experiencing Jesus like never before. My prayer is you would as well continue to seek Jesus, and want to know more of him every single day.