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Showing posts with label GT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GT. Show all posts

Jun 16, 2020

When You Walk Through the Fire...

To say the past week has been hard is an understatement. (If you missed my news last week, then click here to read.) Part of my job at GT is helping to manage the church's social media accounts, and this past week has been the most intense season of work I've ever experienced.

Yesterday, before I left the office, I was looking for a Scripture verse to schedule for our Facebook page this morning and came across Isaiah 43:2: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

On Sunday, our executive Pastor, Scott, took the GT stage and preached a message about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He talked about how when we go through fires, we don't have to stand along, we don't have to come out smelling like smoke, and that God shows up in new ways. So when I found the verse in Isaiah, it was an obvious choice for putting out there to our church body.

But as I reflected on that verse, something occurred to me. It doesn't say "if you walk through the fire," it says when.

It's not if you face tragedy, it's when.
It's not if you experience pain, it's when.

God isn't surprised by our tragedy.  He's not surprised by our pain or our hurt.  In fact, his Word says that we will walk through the fire, we will pass through the river.

I don't believe that fires that we walk through are of God.  Our world is broken as a result of the fall, and so while we tarry to redeem a fallen Creation to it's Creator, the reality is that bad things happen.  People make bad choices and there are consequences for those decisions, and the fact that we live in a fallen world means that we aren't always spared hardship and heartbreak. God doesn't make those bad things happen, but He does work through them to bring healing and hope.

My life over the past two years has been nothing short of a roller coaster.  Between two cancer diagnosis's, health issues with both of my grandmothers, losing AJ's grandfather, a long distance relationship, and now everything that's happened with my church, there have been days when I've asked God when I get to step out of the flames.

But from time to time I realize that the God who promises to be with us in Isaiah 43, and who stood amongst the flames with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3, is the same God who will see us through even the greatest of tragedies.

And He does see us through.  Isaiah 43 doesn't say "when you stand in the waters" or "when you hang out in the fire," it says through.  We don't have to stay in the rivers and fires of our lives.  We have to carry on and walk through.

God doesn't promise easy.  He doesn't promise safe, or pain-free, or simple.  But He promises to be there in the good times and the bad, and He promises to be with us and see us through.

We will face hardship.  There will be fires to walk through.  There will be rivers to pass through and there will be times when we feel like the flood waters are about to pull us under.  But God promises to be there, to preserve us, and to not allow the flames to set us ablaze.


It feels disingenuous of me to end this post without talking about the hope we have in Jesus. The Bible is filled with the promises of God, and one of the greatest promises any of us can put our hope in is the eternal life found through faith in Christ. If you're reading this post, and you're not sure what you believe or you're walking through a fire right now and you need some hope, then, friend, I can't begin to describe to you how great God's love is for you. He wants to stand in that fire with you and carry you through. 

Personally, I'm not sure how I would have made it through the past two years without my relationship with God. And I want you to know that relationship, too. If you'd like to start that relationship, but aren't sure how, I'm happy to tell you that it's simple.  God is fully accessible to us through prayer, and all it takes is stopping, right now, to pray and tell Him about your belief in Him, your desire to know Him more, and your recognition that you're in need of a Savior. (Let me tell you a secret...we all are!) 

Prayer doesn't have to be this mysterious thing, it's a conversation, so just talk to Him. If you pray that prayer today and you're looking for more direction, please email me at [email protected] because I would love to talk with you more about your decision!  It's the most important one you'll ever make, and I'd be thrilled to walk through that with you.

Jun 9, 2020

Prayer Request

Hi friends...
No fancy photo or long post today.

I may be absent from this space for a few days.  I have some posts scheduled to go up but my usual presence may be minimum.

As many of you know, I work for a rather large church in Reading, PA.  On Sunday night, our lead pastor and his wife were involved in a very serious motorcycle accident.  They also happen to be my best friend's in laws, so this has been especially close to home.  Our Pastor, Bryan, is in the hospital in stable but critical condition, however, his wife, Lynn, did not survive.  Our hearts are breaking as we pray and manage communication to our church body.

We covet your prayers as our church community is in deep mourning.  While we have hope for Bryan's recovery, we are also grieved at the loss of Lynn.  We know that she is not sad, yet rejoicing in Heaven with her Lord and Savior, and we know that, as Bryan always says, you can't threaten a Christian with Heaven, so we are happy for her and know we'll be with her again someday.

If you'd like to read more, you can see the newspaper article here and stay up to date on our church's Facebook page here.

Thank you so much, friends.

Much love.

Feb 18, 2020

Lent // Sacrifice, Preparation, + Reflection

this post was written for gt church's easter blog.  the blog will consist of weekly blog posts, scripture readings, and journal prompts in the weeks leading up to easter, and then daily posts through the week between palm sunday and easter.  subscribe to have the blog delivered to your email inbox here.

i grew up in a more liturgical church than the one i go to now.  somewhere in the midst of elementary school, i learned that the forty days leading up to easter, the lenten season, meant a time of giving something up.  i never really considered the why behind making a small sacrifice during that time, and while I observed the practice, it really signified nothing more than that i couldn’t eat ice cream (or whatever food item i had inevitably chosen) for the forty days. 

when my family started attending gt, i remember feeling some confusion over the lack of recognition of this season in the church calendar, but ultimately, i didn’t feel a huge sense of loss over it.  lent, after all, was just forty days to me.  while i was saved at a young age, the liturgical church calendar didn’t hold a big significance in my walk with christ, but was more of a way to measure the year. 

but as lent begins this year, i’ve found myself desiring to take time to intentionally prepare myself for the celebration of easter.  traditionally, lent covers a period of approximately six weeks leading up to easter sunday and is marked by practices of prayer, repentance, generosity (or almsgiving), and fasting.  while we at gt may not observe lent in the way that our more liturgical brothers & sisters do, i believe that this time of preparation is one that could be made more meaningful by adopting some of the traditional practices of the season.

prayer, fasting, and generosity are things that we should all be practicing regularly, and what better time to get into the habit of these practices than during the weeks leading up to the greatest sacrifice ever made?

maybe for you, it’s choosing something (like a food item or social media site) that you’d like to give up for the next forty days while you spend time in prayer instead of indulging in that specific thing.  perhaps find yourself a lent devotional, or follow along with us through the lenten season on our easter blog.  or possibly decide to live more generously in the next forty days.  whatever way you choose to observe lent this year, i pray that it will be out of a desire to grow closer to jesus, and not out of a sense of obligation.

throughout the month of march, gt church be unpacking some of the miracles of jesus as we prepare to consider the greatest miracle of all:  jesus’s death and resurrection.  join us on this journey to easter sunday, and spend these next few weeks growing closer to god through the wonder of the cross.  you can subscribe to get the weekly blog posts delivered to your email inbox here.  
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