Fanning the Flames of Faith

“I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7

I’ve recently started enjoying making fires. Let me explain that when I say this, I’m meaning fires in fireplaces, I have always respected Mr. Smokey Bear. Being able to create a fire in a fireplace, starting small and then building up into a fire that can warm a space is calming for me. What I’ve been able to see is that there is a key element in burning, you can’t suffocate the fire and you need to fan the flames. Fanning the flames allows for oxygen to enter into the mix, and fire can only burn if oxygen is present. I have been reading through Paul’s letters and I have begun to love the way Paul encourages Timothy. Timothy is a part of the next generation of leaders and Paul is pouring into his life, encouraging him to remain faithful even when life seems tough.

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Peace: The Blessing of Uncertainty

I am continually amazed by how terrifying life feels. It never seems like there is a clear direction, and as much as I would love for someone to show up and tell me what I need to do, this has never seemed to be the case. Maybe it would be to bizarre for me to understand the plan, or maybe my current way of thinking hasn’t gone through the growth it needs to experience the plans of the future. Last week I talked about the reflection and growth that comes with the new seasons, looking back at the blessings of what brought you here. The thing is, it brings us to now, and what do I do now?

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Reflection and Growth

“Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a foggy mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

Two things keep sticking in my mind over the past year; reflection and growth. The start of the year, dear Danielle and I chose the word, “lover,” to be the word we would focus on and attribute to our mindset. Little did we know that this would be tested as everything changed in a crazy way. I am so thankful that we chose this mindset, because this year dealt with a lot, and there was a lack of love all around. I was ready for a year of busyness and wanted to focus on how to love better, but what happened was a year of resetting rhythms. I am thankful for that reset, I’m thankful for the time or reflection over the past and a growth towards what may be next.

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Thanksgiving

I am very thankful for this season of life. A lot has changed for both dear Danielle and myself, as well as so many of you. At the time of this blog being posted, we will be on the road back to North Carolina. We’re not sure of what’s next for us, but we know that God has got a plan for our lives. I have been thinking back to our time here in Florida, and I am overwhelmed with thanks. This season is good for reflection, living a thankful life allows me to have a clear mind and see all the growth that has happened. That’s what this thanksgiving holiday has always meant to me, I think about all that has happened and have a chance to look back with thanks for all the joys in my life.

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Living a Thankful Life

November is a great month. I love the season of Thanksgiving, being able to look at what life has given you and reflect on what matters most. This year might be a little more difficult to do that, but at the same time, this might be the perfect moment to do that. I have been told that I have a lot of joy, I have a lot of energy and I really love people. The secret is, I don’t have that come naturally. What I’ve had to do was grow a lot and realize, that by living a thankful life, joy follows.

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Love God, Love People

Spooky season is almost finished, which means this is our finale to the b-movie series here on the blog. Today, since I like to keep you on your toes, we will not be looking at a movie, but a TV show, and a specific episode. The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling (who also narrates each episode), sets a spooky tone in every episode with wild scenarios, all based in real issues we deal with. The episode we will be looking at today is titled, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” the setting takes place in a suburban neighborhood and suddenly a flash in the sky appears and everything stops working. The neighbors gather in the street confused about the power outage and strange flash, and a little boy suggests it could be aliens infiltrating the neighborhood. Panic starts, then fingers are pointed at one another power comes on in certain houses, driving the people to become more and more untrusting of one another. The anger leads to a death, then the street erupts into chaos.

The final moment of the episode shows two aliens watching these events, and they simply say that all they need to do to conquer earth, is create confusion and the humans will destroy themselves.

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Never Go It Alone

One of the biggest tropes in horror films, is when the gang decides to split up. Almost every classic b-slasher movie has a moment where the teenagers decide it’s a better idea to split up and go get help, and we as the viewers want to scream at the screen because we know this is the worst idea! I always think of the Friday the 13th series, because they all pretty much follow the same formula. Jason shows up and then everyone else runs in the opposite direction, just not together. It becomes a free for all and doesn’t end well for pretty much anyone, until the end when the final people figure out a way to stop the mad man. We watch this and get so frustrated, asking ourselves, why wouldn’t they all just work together to stop this killer? The truth is though, that we ourselves do this same thing.

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Never Give Up

Life gets really tough sometimes. There are days were you just can’t take it anymore. I’ve had a lot of time to think, just like many of you have during this time of social distancing, and I’ve thought about the events that have led me to where I am now. Looking back, I’ll be honest, there have been a ton of times where I wanted to quit. To just give up and let go. In high school, I knew God was calling me to be a pastor, it’s the clearest voice I have heard. I had a passion to help people and a passion to help young people especially step into who God made them to be. From that moment I felt very weird, I am still so passionate about it, but when I have pursued it, I get push back.

Maybe you have been met with similar pushbacks, you might not have enough experience, might be too young or too old in the eyes of the person in charge, or maybe you’ve been told you don’t have the right x-factor or cool enough. I’ve faced these exact same challenges, but in it, god has been with me. He always reminds me:

Never give up.

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Someone/Everyone

I was thinking back to about a year ago when I was listening to Reggie Joiner speak at Orange Conference. He made a statement that stuck with me, and popped into my head the other day. He said this, “On his way to save everyone, Jesus stopped to save someone.” I love that. In the context of what he was talking about was the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a man that no one liked, and he wasn’t really likable. Despite what he had done, he wanted to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus called him to be greater. God sent his son to save everyone and he started by saving someone.

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Keep Moving Forward

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

This scripture keeps coming into my mind.

In every season it feels like there always comes a crossroads. A time where decisions need to be made and the next chapter will begin with whatever choice is made in this moment. I’ll be honest, in my life, these decisions aren’t comfortable and often are the result of hurt. I think about how in college, I was interning and it felt like the next steps were so clear, that I would just continue into that path. That wasn’t the case, life often has a way of shifting and moving, and most of the time it’s not the way I would like. So often I used to write and preach about how God’s plan is so much better, yet during these same times I had my plan all mapped out. Things just made sense, but the truth is, God’s plan is so much better, it just means that we have to get uncomfortable to take a leap.

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