Hello Sweet Cheer: 2011

12.15.2011

Being Missional

Good morning!
The title of this post is “Being Missional”. I had an inkling to post about this topic last week and now that I’m sitting down to write it my heart wants to write about something else.
So instead, I’d like to talk about what it actually MEANS to have a relationship with Christ. To be honest, I’m not sure if I fully understood this concept until I got to college. Even as a leader in my youth group for years, I don’t think I really knew what following Christ was all about. Today, it’s on my heart to share about a RELATIONSHIP not a religion. (sounds cheesy huh? that’s the way I like things!)
As a high school girl, I went through a lot. My years of drill team were trying, my years in the youth group at Wesley were trying, and my constant roller coaster self-confidence was trying, and still is sometimes. Through all of these things, I knew the Lord was there. I knew He loved me and wanted me to fall at His feet and surrender to Him. A few times I did. A lot more times I didn’t. But the point is, I had the head knowledge of my sin, God’s grace and His great love for me, but I had no real RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ. Maybe this is you today. Regardless of whether you’re where I was or somewhere else, check this out.
When I use the word relationship I mean, give and take, two way street, communication, with the Lord Almighty. Let me pause for a moment. COMMUNICATION with the Lord Almighty. Yeah, I know, really cool, huh!? The God of the Universe wants to hang out and get to know you and I. WOW. Okay, moving on!
Now that we’ve somewhat defined what a relationship is, let’s talk about what it consists of. Here are three critical aspects to growing deeper with the Lord and getting to know Him better.
1) PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.
The Bible tells us “pray without ceasing” (1Thes5:17) and “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil4:6-7). Prayer is a HUGE part of your relationship with Jesus. Think about this, we get to talk with Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the lover of our souls. Cool! Pray constantly! Fall on your knees in prayer when you’re struggling, confused, joyful, excited, etc. Pray for others, pray for this world, pray for the church, your church, your community.
2) Be in the Word, daily.
In my life, there is nothing more rejuvenating, refreshing and exciting than spending time in the Word. No facial, pedicure, nap or movie could be more life giving than scripture. God wrote us a love story and we have access to it! It is SO important to not only read and learn but to really study the Bible. Being in the Word is a DAILY thing. It’s so important that we read, pray and spend set apart time with Jesus every single day.
3) Be accountable.
I have a woman who I meet with every week and we talk about what’s going on in my life. She knows my past, where I’ve messed up, what I’m struggling with, etc. She invests in my life, keeps me accountable and prays for me constantly. She is so important to me and I am so incredibly thankful for her! I would say this is an aspect of my walk with Christ that I definitely wasn’t introduced to until I started going to the Wesley Foundation at Texas Tech. My desire is that one-on-one discipleship would be implemented in the high school setting in all youth groups. If I was involved in a one-on-one in high school, so many things could have been avoided. It is extremely important to my relationship with Christ and I can only hope that this practice will spill over into high school. A couple of things about this; your one-on-one should be of the same gender as you, someone with experience and wisdom, typically older than you, and someone who loves you that you’re comfortable sharing and being transparent with!
I hope this helps, inspires and/or encourages you today.
Just call him Jesus, Savior, Son of God, the King of Kings. Our salvation has a name. Jesus, Savior, Precious Lord of Everything. Our whole world’s about to change! “Jesus, Savior” by Chris August
I’ve been LOVING this song lately. Check it out!
Peace and Blessings!

12.05.2011

Who are we trying to please?

Let’s have a little self assessment.
     When you wake up in the morning and get ready for the day who are you thinking about? What are you thinking about? Are you thinking about what your most recent crush will think of how you look? Are you thinking about how many of your friends will compliment the way you look? Who are your thoughts motivated by? Are they motivated by the people you hope to impress? Are they motivated by what your parents will approve or disapprove of? Who holds the key to your thoughts?
     Throughout your day, who are you allowing to motivate what you do and how you do it? When you sit with the same cool kids at lunch everyday, why do you do that? When you sit with the lonely kid at lunch, why do you do that? When you defend someone who is being picked on, what motivates you to do that? Are your actions motivated by being cool, liked, good-looking, confident? Are your actions motivated by what the King would be pleased by?
     Our society tells us we have to be the pretty, skinny, bubbly girl all the guys want us to be. Our society tells us we have to be the macho, womanizing, charming, popular guy all the girls will fall for. But why do we strive for that? And if we don’t strive for that, why do we strive for whatever it is that we try to be every single day?
     I ask all those questions just to begin some self reflection. I know that in my own day-to-day life, I catch myself putting on a certain outfit because I know I’ll get attention for it. In high school, I knew EXACTLY how to dress my body so that guys would look at it. I could draw eyes from every which way and have them glued to me. The way I dressed was purely motivated by whether or not people would think I looked good. Not only that but my thoughts and actions were influenced by who I could please. I wanted attention, I wanted to be liked, and I wanted people to tell me I was pretty. Even though being liked and being told you’re attractive aren’t horrible things, I was trying so hard to fulfill a desire that only the Lord could satisfy. I searched for love, security, acceptance, inclusion, compliments, etc. in the people around me instead of turning my eyes to the King who created me. Sometimes it boggles my mind how much He loves me. I am broken and He desires me. I am a sinner and He wants to draw near to me. I am undeserving of His love and he showers me with adoration.
     I want to wrap this up with a quick story.After years of seeking acceptance and love from earthly things, it’s still a constant struggle for me to remember that the only One I need to please is my God! I constantly forget that the Most High King wants to romance me! I have to remind myself daily that the Lord LOVES me. It’s easy to say it, “Yeah, I know God loves me.” But think about it, the God of the universe wants to dine with you. The GOD of the UNIVERSE desires to be in relationship with you. He really, REALLY, LOVES you! Doesn’t that excite you? I could go on and on about the incredible God we serve but I know blogs can get lengthy.
     I recently stumbled upon a Facebook status of an old friend that read, “All I want is to be someone’s first choice for once, and to have someone completely adore me, and mean it. Is that really so much to ask? :/” When I first saw this my heart BROKE. I wanted more than anything to run to her side, let her cry on my shoulder and remind her that I love her so much and that the King loves her more than I ever could.
     Is that not an incredible picture of what Christ is to us? When I wake up in the morning, look at my body in disgust and carry on my day wishing for someone to hold me, comfort me, love me and adore me, HE wants to run to my side, let me cry on His shoulder, and remind me that He has more love for me than I could EVER imagine. I hope this encourages you today. Just sitting down to write this post has encouraged me and reminded me of how much our God loves me.
“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11
“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14
Peace and blessings!

12.02.2011

Scripture Series Week 3: Who are we made to be?

Well I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving & got to spend it with the ones you love the most! I sure had a great week off of school but now it’s back to the daily grind of class & preparing for final exams!
This is the last week of my first ever scripture series on who and what God created us to be! To finish up we are focusing on the specific truth that we are a new creation through Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come, the old has gone, the new is here! Everything is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” –2 Corinthians 5:17-18
     These verses come from another one of Paul’s letters to the people at Corinth. In this book we expand our understanding of ministry. We learn four key truths: (1) God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself and has given us a ministry of reconciliation; (2) true ministry in Christ’s name involves both suffering and victory; (3) serving Christ means ministering in His name to every need of the people; and (4) leaders in ministry need support and trust from those to whom they minister. (HCSB)
Verses 17 & 18 of this chapter of 2 Corinthians is specifically talking about how we are in union with him. True conversion starts with the transforming of one’s life. The Holy Spirit that dwells within us creates a life of divinity in believers allowing the old to go away and enabling of a life of NEWNESS. This doesn’t mean we won’t struggle, this doesn’t mean we aren’t going to mess up, it means we are able to recognize who God is in us and live our lives accordingly only by the Grace and Mercy He has for us. This is part of God’s plan for redemption. When man fell to sin God began the great process to piece His people, His place and His presence back together. The Holy Spirit living in us is just a small taste of what it means to be in the presence of God.
We are NEW. Christ died on the cross to allow us to be in union with the Lord. Live in newness. Let your old self leave and the new dwell within.
Sorry this post is so late, my week has been a little crazy! I’ve got another post swirling around in my head so stay tuned!
Laterz.

11.22.2011

Oh, Come all ye Thankful...

Thanksgiving is only TWO days away!
So here’s my typical-everything I’m thankful for-cliche-how much I love Jesus post!
On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving. (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/)
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Comment and share your Turkey Day traditions and celebrations!
As for me and my family, we always get together for a big meal. Every other year we spend the holiday with the Collier family (Mom’s side) and vice versa we spend it with the Moorman family (Dad’s side).
When we spend the holiday with my Mom’s side of the family, it’s a GIANT get together. My mom has four siblings and two of them have four kids just like our family. As you might imagine, things get pretty crazy. Everyone brings a different dish to create a huge yummy Thanksgiving feast. Also, unique to the Collier family is that we all get dressed up that day. We wear our cute fall outfits and generally snap some family photos! That’s one of my favorite parts of spending it with them. Besides the large amount of people in attendance, we also have fans of almost every Big 12 football team sprinkled through our family. The schools represented are Texas Tech (the best), A&M, UT, OU, OSU, Baylor and LSU! Anyway, all that to say that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is always fun! Lots of trash talk goes on which is always exciting!
On the other hand, when we spend the holiday with my Dad’s side of the family, it’s a much smaller gathering (though it is quickly growing as people get engaged and married)! My dad has a brother and sister and they have four and two kids respectively. Our family is there obviously and my Grandmother. So the numbers are much lower, but the football game rivalry is still strong on this side! It works pretty much the same way as the other side, the women bring all the food and make it. This Thanksgiving celebration is a little more relaxing whereas the Collier side is extremely tiring!
Both of these celebrations we participate in are always fun and hold a special place in my heart.
Through all the fun and excitement of Thanksgiving get togethers, I always try to remember what the holiday is for and how I can bring the focus back to Jesus and thank Him for all the many blessings I’ve been given. Here are a few verses on thankfulness.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 
At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. Psalm 119:62
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2Corinthians 9:15 
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17 
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. 1Timothy 2:1 
I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand. Daniel 2:23 
One thing I noticed in reading all these verses is how each verse calls attention to a characteristic of God or a fruit in a believer. I would say giving thanks is definitely something I can do better in my daily life. Allow this holiday to remind you of the blessings God has bestowed upon you. Here are a few simple things I am thankful for.
Salvation, grace, discipleship, a supportive & loving family, good friends, material provision (shelter, food, clothes), a Christ-centered community, restoration, healing, and so much more!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Laterz.

Scripture Series Week 2: Who are we made to be?

The past two weeks we’ve been talking about what scripture says about who we are made to be. As believers, what has God created us for?
If you recall, we talked about how we are created to…
1) Honor God
2) Do good works for the Lord
3) Be a new creation in Christ
This week we’re going deeper into what it means to do good works for the Lord, why that is important, etc.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
This letter (Ephesians) written to the church at Ephesus is written by Paul. He is writing to them from prison in either Rome or Caesarea. There is some debate on where he was being held. One interesting thing about Ephesians is that it begins (1:4-6) and ends (6:23-24) with love. Paul uses the word “agape” (unconditional love) 19 times over the course of this letter. (HCSB)
Ephesians has many themes including, redemption (1:7), the divine intention for the human race (1:3-14), grace (1:2), reconciliation and union with Christ (2:1-21), and predestination (1:4-5). There is a lot to say about this letter but I’ll get to the specific verse I want to focus on. (HCSB)
Again, I want to use the following verse:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10
If we were to go back a few verses we would find even more of an understanding of what Paul is saying here. “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– not from works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9 This shows how the next verse (2:10) isn’t saying what some people might assume. Christ doesn’t call us to do good deeds so that we can say we’ve done them. Paul reminds us here that our salvation does NOT come from works but from God’s grace through faith. So yes, we were created to do good works in the name of the Lord but we are not defined by our works.
Our works can be a huge witness to the people around us. Not only are these things important to give Glory to God but by your actions others can see Christ in you. Good works should done with the mindset of God getting Glory through them with an afterthought that what you’re could cause someone else to wonder, what’s different about her? This can be a tiny seed planted that the Lord will continue to grow. We are called to plant the seed, and God does the rest. I hope this was clear and understandable!
Some encouragement for this week…
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 
Stay tuned for a special Thanksgiving post!
Laterz.

11.14.2011

Scripture Series Week 1: Who are we made to be?

Last week we touched on three things the Bible says we are made to be. This week I’d like to dig a little deeper into each of those things.
If you recall, we talked about how we are created to…
1) Honor God
2) Do good works for the Lord
3) Be a new creation in Christ
Today let’s get more specific about what it means to honor God.
     “Run from sexual immorality! Every sin a person can commit is outside the body. On the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” –1 Corinthians 6:18-20 HCSB Study Bible
Other translations use the words; “Therefore Honor God with your body.” (NIV & NLT)
As we look closely at what this verse is saying we find that First Corinthians was written by Paul. This was the second letter he wrote to the church at Corinth. He found out about some of the things that were going on at the church at Corinth so he wrote this letter to address those things. He also received a letter from them as he was writing this one so he addressed their questions and confusions as well. His purpose is writing this letter was to motivate the Corinthians to acknowledge the ownership the Lord has over them and over all believers and what that meant for their lives. The entire book of 1 Corinthians is a huge part of our understanding of the Christian life, ministry, and relationships. (HCSB)
With all that being said, this specific verse is talking about sexual immorality.
The way Paul describes this is that any believer who sins against their own body is assaulting the sanctity of their sacred oneness with Christ AND the oneness of holy matrimony. In lamen terms, sexual immorality before marriage affects not only your relationship with your future spouse but also your relationship with the Lord.
The version I quoted uses the word “run” from sexual sin, the NIV translation says to FLEE from sexual immorality. This means to turn around and escape as fast as you possibly can from this because you cannot conquer it. The Lord asks us to honor Him in many ways, and this is one of them. Your body is a temple, (1 Cor. 6:19) and the Lord requires that we treat it as such.
One thing I want to be sure to mention is forgiveness. As I’ve talked about sexual sin and that we are to flee from it I want to remind you that Jesus Christ covered for our sins. You can be made NEW, you can be washed white as snow if you ask for forgiveness and repent of your sin.
To conclude this post I would just like to remind you to strive to honor God in every aspect of your life, including the one we discussed today. Honor Him in your words, actions, thoughts, and desires.
Encouragement for the day…
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7      (go read the entire passage)
Laterz.