Monday, April 27, 2015

One Day At A Time

Photo: Trish Dare Photography

There's this girl. She's so very special to me. She's experienced a lot in her life. Loss, betrayal, heartbreak. So may things that could easily bring a person down. But it's not the trials of her life that amaze me. It's the triumph.

Through all of the pain, she has remained strong. She's a bright light of joy in my life. She's beautiful, hilarious, and loving. She attacks each day with zeal, and doesn't back down from a challenge. She's an inspiration, really. She has so many reasons to be sad, to be angry. But she's not. She's a fighter.

Yeah, she has her down moments, who doesn't? But she doesn't let those few days determine the rest of her existence. She understands that one minute doesn't determine the entire outcome of your life. So what if something is difficult? Tomorrow is a new day, a chance to find joy.

Too many people let their feelings determine their experiences. They let their selfishness decide how they treat everyone. If things don't go their way, they throw a fit and try to make people miserable. They forget about anything except for themselves and their little problems.

I know I get that way sometimes, how about you?

Here's a new idea. Wake up and realize that there are people out there going through pain that is so much worse than anything you've ever felt. The things that you think are a big deal might not be. Look at the world through the eyes of someone else. Your life is probably a cake walk compared to the lives of others.

Do you have food on the table? Do you have clothes on your back? You're already several steps ahead of a large portion of this planet. Don't take these things for granted. Don't lose sight of the potential of this life.

There are so many things we could be doing with our lives, things that don't include pining away for that specific new car we want, or mourning the loss of the guy we never actually dated. Man up. Step up. Take action.

Follow the lead of an incredible girl. Take each day as it comes. Don't predetermine the outcome of a moment before it's even arrived. The only way to make a difference is to live one day at a time.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Making Moves

Photo: Jessica Dobbs

When God calls us to do something, what do we do? How often do we hesitate? How often do we say we need to pray more about it? That we need to finish something else before we begin the new task?

When we are called to serve God, we are called to step out in faith. To make moves, not to make excuses. In essence, when we doubt God's calling and remain stationary, we are disobeying Him. If He places a calling on your life, DO IT!!!!! He doesn't want to hear why you don't think you're good enough, or about how unprepared you are. He wants you to obey Him.

He wants you to be His good and faithful servant, and instead of questioning His motives, He wants you to say, "Yes, Lord" and follow Him. No matter what He calls you to do in this life, however crazy it may sound, He will never leave your side. He will always be there to guide you, just as long as you follow His path.

Burn the bridges behind you when you make a move of faith. Don't give yourself an escape plan from your mission. Dive in head first. Trust God and all He has planned for you. He doesn't make mistakes. Don't have a backup plan when you're following God's path. Put your heart and soul into it, and don't look back.

God will reward you for your faith. He will store up crowns for you in Heaven. But you must follow Him wholeheartedly. You mustn't shy away from responsibility. Never allow yourself a safety blanket. Keep moving forward. Stay on the path.

God chose YOU for whatever it is you're being called to do. Nobody else. You. He believes in you. He knows you're able to complete the task.

You're capable of more than you think you are. Don't doubt yourself. Take the next step. One foot in front of the other.


Jackelyn Stange

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Burn Out

This life. It can be so busy. There's so much to do. Work, school, church, reading, gaming, sports, whatever your interests are. We all have things that we are passionate about. It is passion that drives us from one day to another, keeps us moving forward. What are you putting your energy towards? 

Sometimes I feel like my energy is being split so many different ways, it's often hard to catch up to myself. I like it that way. I don't like being bored. I always need to be doing something. The things that probably take the most focus in my life are my faith, my husband, and my job. All good things, all time consuming.

Let's be real. I don't have a lot of spare time. The spare time I do have is often thrown into writing or extra Jesus-related activities. Our church is starting a Saturday night service now, so we'll be there a healthy amount of every weekend. We have a small group at our house on Tuesday nights, and I have a women's Bible study on Friday nights. We often hang out with the kids from our small group on other nights as well. It's important to me to pour myself into the people in my life. I love the people in my life.

I have a passion for my church, I want to witness lost people being found. Fresh Life has the most amazing focus on outreach, and it's brilliant. Being plugged in and serving my church helps keep the fire burning in my soul. I love it.

Why? Why spend so much time doing things like running cameras and computers in the back of the church? Why befriend and feed a bunch of teenagers weekly? Why give up Friday nights for a room full of Jesus-loving women?

Because it's what we are called to do. We are to be servants for the Lord (Galatians 5:13). We are to reach those who are lost in sin and introduce them to the Father (Matthew 4:19). God doesn't want us to sit in our living rooms night after night vegging out and watching the latest episode of The Voice. He wants us to use our gifts to reach others for Him. My gift is NOT walking up to people and telling them that Jesus loves them (that's a gift my friend Amanda Smith is VERY blessed with). My gifts are being OCD and organizing things, being techy and running equipment, being nerdy and writing blogs. So maybe they aren't traditional missionary gifts. But doggone it, I'm going to use them. And I'm going to spend all of the time I have available using them.

My wonderful mom is a fantastic mother. She worries about me. That's what moms do. She's worried I'm going to burn myself out. But that's not what worries me. I'm more worried about reaching the end of my life and knowing I could have done more.

Because what if tomorrow never comes?

What if this is my last chance?

How would you live if you knew there was no tomorrow?

Would you serve others and see them led to the Lord?

Or would you focus on serving yourself?

Live every day as if it's your last. You never know.


Jackelyn Stange

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This Hope We Have

Photo: Cath Schneider

Too many people cling to the hope that they might be good enough to earn Heaven. My hope is different. My hope is an anchor that holds me through the storm, strong and secure. Not a hope that I will be good enough, but a hope that springs from knowing that I am forgiven enough.

No matter what may come my way, my hope will keep me standing strong in the midst of the darkest times. This hope has been tested and tried. I'm here to tell you it's the real deal. Through some of my worst fears, my faith has brought me through.

I know where I'm going when I die. Do you? Are you sure? Because if you think that you'll be good enough to get there, you're sadly mistaken. Nobody could ever do enough good to outweigh the sin in our lives. We're ALL sinners, not just some of us. That sin is exactly what cuts us off from Heaven (Romans 3:23). The ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus (John 14:6). We can't ever work hard enough to get to Heaven on our own, it's just not possible (Titus 3:5).

That's what this time of year is all about. The anniversary of Jesus' death and resurrection on the cross should remind us of how little we can do to deserve the free gift of grace we receive from Christ. Jesus gave up His life so that we might live. His sacrifice guaranteed our place in eternity. But the only way we can claim our place in Heaven is to accept His gift. It's like at the movie theater. Pretend the person in front of you bought your ticket. The only way you can use the ticket they bought you is if you take it from them and present it to the attendant. You can't get into the movie without receiving the gift given to you.

Heaven is so much better than a movie. And it cost so much more. Why not accept the invitation waiting for you? You'll never make it on your own. Thinking you can get into eternity on your own merit is simply foolish. It's also a slap in the face of our Savior. If we could get to Heaven by ourselves, that would invalidate His selfless sacrifice. No. Jesus didn't die for nothing. He died for everything. He IS the Way. The only way. Take Him or leave Him, but quit pretending that you could ever be good enough to be in the presence of a perfect God and King. The blood of Jesus cleanses us and makes us perfect in God's eyes. But that is the ONLY substance that can wash the sin from our lives.

Don't believe me? Find a solid, Bible believing church to go to this Easter. If they're the real deal, they'll spell it out for you. You're welcome to check out Fresh Life at one of our many campuses or online. Your soul will thank you.


Jackelyn Stange