The Single Reason

It’s less than two weeks until Valentines day, which means people are desperate to be in a relationship right now, and have a significant other (SO). At this point if you are single panic has probably set in, because there is nothing worse in the world than being alone on the one day of the year when everyone else posts gushy captions to all of their pictures on social media. If you are single you have to sit alone in a dark room at home with the blinds drawn in shame as you wait for February 15th (The real holiday in my opinion ; ) and mope about all the overpriced chocolate you aren’t getting – Cue the sobbing!

Alright, this might be a slight exaggeration, but I have only blown it out of proportion to illustrate how ridiculous the idea that you need an SO to have a good time is. The world in general is quite pre-occupied with relationships just look at our media. Everything from songs to movies are overrun with relationships. As a Christian, myself and others, are susceptible to the social pressures of wanting or feeling the need to have an SO just like everyone else. I mention this because I don’t have an SO right now, and – wait for it –
I couldn’t be happier.

First off this is not because I don’t desire relationship like everyone else, because I do and I desire to be married one day. The difference is that I understand there is a season for relationships and a season for singleness. I also recognize that both seasons of life are equally valuable! My identity is in Christ and so are my purpose and joy. Which means that regardless of wether or not I have a man by my side I will always have joy and purpose.

So quick review

No – I am not in a relationship right now

Yes – I am genuinely enjoying and loving life right now

Why? – Because my identity, joy, and purpose are found in the Lord.

So wether you have an SO this valentines season or not remember that there are bigger things going on. You have been given your season of singleness for a reason and it is not something to just float through apathetically. You don’t need to and shouldn’t be waiting to “do things for the kingdom” until you are linked up with another person. Will it be great when God brings that person into your life? Yes! For now though you are a free-man so to speak and you have an independence that you will never again have in your life! Embrace that and live in the moment wherever it is that God has you. If you don’t know where God has you or you aren’t involved in ministry right now then I cannot urge you enough. Get involved! Do not let these precious years and moments slip by while waiting for tomorrow like we all wait to go to the gym later. Start today, right now even! Trust the Lord with where you are and I promise that you will see him move in big ways.

Now, I could say a lot more about this topic as it is one of the topics that has been on my heart lately, but many people have spoken on this before and more eloquently than I could manage. So, I’m going to link some food for thought here. It is a recorded sermon from this ministry on the Campus of Texas A&M University known as Breakaway. This particular sermon is a part of a single/dating/engaged/married series with 8 parts and I would highly recommend the whole thing. The sermon I linked above though is about singleness. Hopefully you will find it as enlightening and encouraging as I did.

So friends, eat some chocolate this Valentines while you find your reason for your single season and be a source of love and light.

Love and prayers,
 Lemon


Ps: For those of you that are unaware on the 15th all valentines merchandise (chocolate) goes on sale, so eat your hearts out! Literally, haha!

The Jesus Filter

An Almost Goodbye

There have been many times I have almost deleted Facebook. This week was the closest I have ever come to following through and actually doing it though. However, before I jump in I need to back up and explain the why.

Filters

Everyone has a world view, and their world view acts like a filter which they see everything around them through. My filter comes from my Christian faith. It is the most integral part of my life, and the filter that I see everything through. It’s common for Christians to say things like, “Filter it through the Bible,” which is the written God-breathed book that I believe God has given the world. The point is: without this filter my life would be completely different! I have tried to take Jesus out of the equation when explaining my position on numerous social issues, but I have discovered that it’s just not possible. Everything in my life and all of my decisions have been shaped in some way by my world view.

 1. Your world view shapes everything in your life.

A hot topic as of late is politics — Now, before you flee my page, out of frustration with yet another post about specific issues or people slam on those brakes! This is not a post about politics. Well, at least not in the sense you are thinking. Just give me a chance to explain what this has to do with filters and worldview’s. Believe me I am just as sick of politics as the rest of you. I am especially tired of reading posts by people I disagree with — which are numerous considering I have a diverse group of friends.

Politics, when I say that word each of you reading this immediately has a definition, specific emotions,  and thoughts that come to mind. This is because each of you has a world view that has shaped the way you look at things. Now, if I were to get more specific and mention the name of a politician or a piece of legislation I am certain that you would have an opinion about it. However, you and I might not share the same opinion — and this is where the conflict of these kinds of discussions comes in.

Facebook Frenemies?

Facebook is a perfect example of where conflict of opinions can turn nasty, even between friends! This is largely because when we hear an opinion that we classify as “stupid” it is usually because it doesn’t align with our worldview. However, since everything goes through this filter, for Christians that is the Bible and our faith, we can find it near impossible to understand where the other person is coming from. Likewise, your friend may find it equally difficult to understand your stance, if they have a different worldview. Therefore, posting articles or strong opinions to Facebook usually creates more problems than it solves.

2. Not everyone has the same worldview.

It’s  easy to get hung up on a specific thing someone says. It is even simpler to write passionate responses in the comment section of a post where you can’t see the person you are replying to. The intensity of these responses generally escalates with each comment, and instead of either person changing their mind they both become defensive. Emotion takes control and anger sets in along with intense frustration. That is until they finally resign themselves to the thought that the other person is completely “ignorant.” Often times these discussions end by both people resorting to saying so to the other and with far less flowery language. I am guilty of thinking such thoughts myself, so I write this post not from a position of “I have the answers, and I have everything figured out,” but rather the position of trusting the Lord to do a work inside of me as I continue to seek answers and the proper response to this problem.

So, after deciding that I wished to have no part in posting anything remotely political on Facebook, because I was done with the conflict. I was left wondering, and I asked God; “What is the proper response to this Lord? How do I show your love in this and let you shine through my actions and words?”

So, now that you are caught up I can jump back in to the present and where I am going with all of this. I had nearly come to the decision that, because of the stress it was causing, I was going to delete my Facebook account. However, I wanted to wait and see where God led first — I wasn’t in any hurry to say goodbye to my biggest connection to friends around the globe either. Facebook can be a great connector, so even though there’s drama it’s still an awesome resource.

Thankfully, he answered my questions quite quickly, and I won’t be deleting it anytime soon.

Lightbulb Moment

It was this morning when the answer came. It was like a lightbulb turning on; I realized something that was so simple, but at the same time revolutionary to the Christian approach on this topic (well topic(s) if you will ;).

If we filter everything through our worldview then shouldn’t we be working to change that first not change the opinion on a specific issue? How are we going to change the way people think and view things, if we don’t change the broken filter they are viewing them through first? We can’t!

3. You have to fix the filter before you can discuss picture.

I quickly came to the conclusion that as a Christian my method should not be Facebook comment wars (obviously) that led to feelings of animosity towards friends. It should instead be working to change worldviews of those friends. Yes, those topics of debate are still important, and they deserve to be discussed and advocated for, and I think there is a time to speak up and a time to be silent. Without fixing the filter first though the picture is still going to come through just as broken and distorted no matter how many facts you present a person with or how good your intentions are.

In closing, I hope that this will help provide a different perspective for approaching conversations with friends especially about politics, because I don’t foresee that topic dying down anytime soon. I hope that you will take what I said, about changing their worldview before attacking issues, to heart as well. If you choose to continue discussing weighty issues with friends who don’t hold the same world view though, remember to speak with grace and patience. Because, if they aren’t looking through the filter of Jesus then they really are looking through a broken filter, and their picture is going to be distorted.

If you approach discussions with grace, patience, and this knowledge then hopefully you will be able to walk away afterwards with more peace and so will your friend. I personally will still be mostly remaining silent on Facebook, regarding politics. However, I will be praying for the people who I disagree with that they would have a worldview change, and for their filter to be restored through Christ. In the mean time I will continue praying for grace and peace.

Love and prayers,
   Lemon

PS: For those of you worried about the condition of our world don’t become discouraged  and forget what John 16:33 and Hebrews 13:14 tell us. This world is not our home, and God has already overcome everything in it and around it because HE reigns almighty (Revelation 19:16).


Title inspiration:Filter

When the “Call” Hurts

The difficulty of the “call” is when it hurts, but you know it’s good because it’s God.

Sometimes, when God places a call, wether it’s a desire, life calling, or a need for change in your life it cost you something– actually let’s be real here for a moment. Very rarely does God call you to something that doesn’t cost you anything, because he is everything and he wants our everything. Because, without him we are nothing. Jesus said “follow me” (Matthew 4:19) to Peter (Simon at the time). He didn’t say, “hey dudes! pack some ‘baggage’ up and hold on tight to those worldly possessions!” He just said follow me. He called and they listened. He later told a rich man you have to leave everything you own to follow me (Matthew 19:21). We have always known that our relationship with God came at a cost, and that has always been clear.

So, when it comes time to pay the bills of life–and that time will come, and those times will be plenty– it becomes important for us to remember why it’s worth it. Why do we repeatedly choose him and choose that cost? The answer is cheesy (I will acknowledge that) and I actually stated it in the last paragraph, but the answer is: He is worth it because He is who He is. Don’t you fret though. This sounds a bit like a riddle right now, but I will expand on this in the next few paragraphs and explain. 

From the very first day we decided to follow Jesus and every day since, we have kept following Him because He is worth it. He is not a fad, or phase, or something else that will become dull or boring. He is almighty, all powerful, loving, gentle, and kind. He is not comprehendible, yet we comprehend that He is worthy. His character is knowable because we can have a relationship with Him, yet unknowable because He is so multifaceted that we will never know all of Him. 

Before we ever existed He was worthy of our praise because He is God — let that sink in.


I went to the Passion conference in Atlanta, Georgia a few weeks ago, and I had the opportunity to praise the Lord and listen to incredible speakers with over 55,000 other young adults. There were countless things that impacted me over just three short days, but the thing I want to talk about from the conference is the talk by Dr. John Piper. His sermon was on the essence of evil, and he dug deep into the word to explain his thoughts to us. His entire sermon was revolutionary to my faith. Because, the thing he said that stuck out to me the most was this – God is not worthy of our praise and we do not praise him because there is a law that says we should praise and obey and love and follow him only. There is a law that says that because he is who he is and he was already deserving of those things before there was a law! The law is simply there to remind us of that truth! 

“He (God) was already deserving of those things before there was a law.”

I distinctly remember sitting in my stadium seat, mouth agape –okay, it was most likely closed. In my mind I was sitting there dumbfounded though because this one truth changed everything! In a moment I was overcome by the glory of the Lord, and the reality of his worthiness was dawning on me for what felt like the first time. 

Sure, I was a recipient of God’s grace, I knew the Bible stories, and I knew he was worthy, but this was different. I had experienced peace from Him. I had seen in my life how desperately I needed Him and how He never failed to show-up. I had seen how He was faithful in times of trouble and prosperity in my own life and others lives. So, because of these things, in my mind, He was worthy. He created the world, then sent His son to save us because we could not save ourselves, and then He gave us the Holy Spirit. It made sense to me that he should be worthy of my praise. He had done so much for me and others. Plus it didn’t hurt that He was God.

“He’s God so of course he’s worthy”


My lightbulb moment though was when I was sitting in the Atlanta Dome listening to Dr. Piper speak. I realized that God isn’t worthy because of what he did or what he has done for me. Yes, he is worthy because of those things. He was worthy before he did any of those things though, before I was ever a thought or an idea. He is worthy because He is the I am. 

I think, this is such an important thing to be reminded of when we feel those tugs on our heart to make a decision. Wether it is time to end a relationship, start a new career path, or even just sharing Jesus with that friend of yours, those questions regarding the value of your decision will be important to you. Because, those are the “make it or break it” moments in life. The ones where our faith is put to the test. Is Jesus ENOUGH for us to risk some other things or even say goodbye to them altogether? The answer is an overwhelming YES! He is SO worth it. 

I am currently in the middle of one of those moments myself, so friends I see you in your struggle. I understand, but I’m here to remind you (and myself) that the Lord is worth it! He will give you the strength and the words for your situation to persevere through and answer that call. Know that the Lord will not call you to anything that he has not and will not equip you for. He is a good father and loves you deeply. 

So, on the days that you wonder “is it worth it?” I want you to remember that it is and that HE is. 

Love and prayers,
   – Lemon

Dreams Like Joseph

Hey, Hi, Hello, Hola, Yo, Greetings…….nope.

*Everything I’ve started with has sounded dumb so we are just going to jump right in*

Do you ever catch yourself caring about what other people think about you just a little too much? I know I’m guilty of doing so. I also know I don’t have a great excuse for it especially being a Christian. I consciously know where my value comes from and that the things of this world are temporary. Yet, I still find myself caught in the trap of comparison, jealousy, and fear. So the other day when I read a verse in Galatians It struck a chord. But, before I tell you what verse it was I have to give a bit of a back-story.

The other night I had the weirdest dreams, but then again who doesn’t? The one dream in particular that I remembered upon waking up from dream land though was this weird ocean volleyball dream with church interns and people I ran track with last year. I know, I know, how the heck does this possibly tie in to something about Jesus. Trust me it does. Upon waking up I grabbed my phone and was checking notifications when I saw an email from AirOne (a radio station you should check out) the email had this verse attached.

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

Now here is where it gets “weird” because after I woke up I was thinking about how dream me was trying really hard to have people like her. Then right after that I flipped on my phone and this was the verse I read.

Some people would call this a coincidence, I call this the divine nature of God trying to get my attention. Wether it is photos we take, books we read, or acts of service we do for people, we aren’t doing those for ourselves or for anyone else. We are here on Earth to serve the Lord. I was caught so off-guard by this verse though. It really hit home with my thoughts lately.

I hope that this made sense, haha. In conclusion, God uses our strange dreams to speak to us today the same way he did in the days of Joseph (the one with the technicolor coat). Today he is telling you to stop caring about what other people think about you. You are not their servant so do not chain yourself to their opinions because those are feeble, flaky and fleeting. Humans are inconsistent. But, God is never changing, so today remember to lean into him and his consistency and serve him faithfully.

Love and prayers,
Lemon

 

Heavenly insight via Siri

I was running out the door late, the weather was awful and visibility low, and I didn’t even really want to go, but out I went anyways on my way to church. I had avoided driving anywhere since day light savings had ended thus far, but I was about to experience the wrath of every other driver on the highway all at once.

That lovely time of day, six o’clock traffic. The time of day when you just want to sit back and relax after a long day but instead wind up screaming at the person in front of you just because they didn’t use their blinker. Traffic, it does things to you. Post daylight savings traffic is by far the worst though. Not only are you sitting in traffic it’s now darker, colder, and you feel more tired. Guess what. So, does everyone else around you, and they are sure to let you know.

The long drive to the church for my small group meeting began by not being able to merge onto the highway because no one one let me over out of the exit only lane. Therefore I decided “okay fine, I’ll just drive side streets because no one is moving fast on the highway anyways.” So I proceeded to exit and took a back way. I should add that I was not entirely focused on driving at this time and was studying while driving (not recommended). I was listening to a youtube summary of a shakespeare play I was reading for class. I was supposed to present in the morning on the book but had no idea what I was reading and needed a modern english overview, hence the youtube summary. Between the weather, the disorienting darkness, and the audio book, I was throughly distracted.

At about this time I realized I was completely lost. I was downtown at night and I had no idea where I was. Now, I have a GPS on my phone, but I had driven this way before and I figured I was fine on my own and didn’t need any help. A very false sense of confidence, haha. Upon realizing that I was lost and not in a great area of town I quickly turned my car around and turned off my distractions and turned on my GPS. Immediately it new exactly where I was and gave me directions that were easy to follow. The way it took me may have been slower as it took me back to the highway, but it was a sure route and one I could trust. I got directions one piece at a time all the way to the church where I safely arrived.

Jesus is like my GPS, and I am like, well me, and you and everyone else. So often we put our trust in ourselves and think we can rush through life without direction, doing it on our own. We are distracted by the things around us and can’t focus on him like we are supposed to. Whenever we are in trouble we reach out to him immediately, and he is always right there waiting and ready. He never leaves us, and he is always willing to give us direction. He requires our patience though, and he most likely won’t show you all of his plan at once. He will give it to you one piece at a time, and ask that you be patient and wait. Patience is hard, and God understands that, but he is someone you can trust to direct you faithfully. For his way is perfect.

Psalm 17:6 “My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.”

So I would encourage you, instead of rushing about waiting till you are utterly lost, have patience and let him lead you one step at a time, starting now.

Love and prayers,
Lemon