Category Archives: Jesus

My thoughts on The Bible, Christianity, Religion, and Jesus.

New Blog Site

I have started an entirely new site for the 100 day experiment. Subscribe to www.godisaliveexperiment.com to get 100 days of inspiration. GOD IS ALIVE!

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God Is Alive::Intro

This is the introduction to my 100 day blog experiment. I will be talking about how God is active in our lives. The fun starts Monday, June 25th

Piece of my Heart will always be Broken

My last blog, “Caring For Orphans” was passionately written and sent out on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 to all of our family, friends and acquaintances. Friday evening, October 21, 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I could go on about how I felt and what happened for that time being, but as I already typed I was pregnant. So with that said, I cannot remember how I felt before I heard the news because my heart quickly went from extreme excitement to extreme heartbroken.

Thanksgiving Day – The first day I felt great in the 8 weeks of pregnancy with morning sickness nonstop. This was also the day I lost my baby and did not know it. I ended up going to the Emergency Room to get an ultrasound on Friday at the time I was suppose to go to work; my OB/GYN nurse told me to get checked out “just in case” and “better safe than sorry” but “things will more than likely be just fine.” Because my symptoms were minor, I didn’t prepare myself for the worst. If you truly know me, then you know I am always prepared for the worst so for once I was thrown off guard when the Radiologist very bluntly said, “Unfortunately, no heartbeat has been found. So you may miscarry soon. Sorry for giving you not-so-good news.” Just like that my heartbeat wanted to stopped, too. I kept a straight face and truly thought I could handle the news. “Because I knew it happens 25% of pregnancies and 1 out of 3 pregnancies are miscarried. Also,I just knew I would miscarry because I know I’m suppose to adopt so why would I get pregnant? So of course I’m not shocked.” Those were the thoughts running through my mind. When I finally dared to glance back to Michael, who had been standing in the corner beside me, I could see the instant pain reflect from the face of this man who just found out he isn’t a daddy after-all. Because I am pessimistic and Michael is optimistic, it may be true that he was more heartbroken than me. At least right away….

So what happened next? I went back to work the next day. Shhh, don’t tell me I am crazy because I now know I was. In my logical mind, it’s only an emotion so I can physically go to work and besides, I did just miss work on BLACK FRIDAY. I owe it to them, right?! Well I barely made it to 2 hours on my shift. Out of nowhere I felt this sharp pain again in my left side but much worse than what brought me to the E.R. I still didn’t want to leave, even though I was sobbing in front of my supervisor. If it weren’t for my co-workers (older ladies) insisting it was labor pains and I shouldn’t be there but to go home to rest, I would have continue to think I was just over exaggerating. That pain continued from Saturday through Wednesday, when I woke up from the D&C procedure, which I begged my doctor first thing Monday that I had to have!

So I go back to work Friday to find out my Assistant Manager is giving me paid sick days for the days I’ve missed from work! PRAISE GOD for not letting us financially slide down because of this and PRAISE GOD my managers are more than compassionate about my absences, especially during the busiest time of the year. I thought my healing was over but after travelling in the car for 5 hours on Sunday to visit my sister I had some minor complications, which effected my time and energy with my family as we celebrate Christmas together (early).

I am confident that God gave me those physical pain in order to bring out my emotional pain. If it weren’t for all of this, I would have bottled up emotions I wouldn’t even know I had (still have) and that would have been a huge problem in the long run. I have been able to deal with strong pain both from my body and from my heart then cope with it as I begin to heal in both areas. At this time in my life, I am literally taking it day by day, not planning my future like I have always been doing since I was a kid. I am taking that as from God as well. I have just opened up only part of the pain Michael and I have been dealing with over the past few months. So there is a lot of healing that needs to be dealt with. I am beginning to see that God giving me a baby then losing my baby is allowing me to heal in that area but also in the other areas in our lives.

One of the resources getting me through ALL of this is the book:

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.
Posted by Jesalyn Hanna at 8:31 AM 0 comments

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday…

This Sunday at Radiant Life Fellowship I want to invite you to join us. I am really looking forward to this Sunday for a few reasons.

It is going to be action packed! We are talking about characteristics of God using current movies to illustrate what God is. This week is one of the most action packed movie trilogies of all times. TRANSFORMERS. You better believe that the message will be just as action packed as the movie.

We are also going all out this series. Most churches coast through the summer on auto-pilot because attendance is so inconsistent, but not us. This series we will be showing clips from great movies, playing an awesome popular song each week in addition to our awesome worship, incorporating fun games complete with give-a-ways for the winner, and this week the youth is ending it all with pizza and fun after the service.

The final reason why I am so excited about this Sunday is somewhat obvious. The message will be delivered by none other than your’s truly. I will admit that I am new to this and I will most certainly be nervous on Sunday morning. So all the familiar faces I can have in the house will help me more than you know.

With that being said, I would love to invite you RLF this Sunday at 10am. We meet at Blythe Elementary and you can come early for a little hang time with free coffee and bagels. I hope to see you there.

This Friday! Don’t miss it!

I am so looking forward to this!

Bring your family and friends and come have a great time with us! I will be doing magic and there will be tons of family friendly activities, give-a-ways, and snacks. See you there!

10 ideas to help with ministry discouragement (by Doug Fields)

I copied this from Doug Fields’ blog at http://www.dougfields.com. It is a great word for everyone. It starts out directed at people in the ministry, but I think these words apply to everyone. Just replace the word “ministry” with “job” or “calling”. The content starts here…

When you say yes to ministry, you also say yes to periods of discouragement. Here are some harsh realities:

• Discouragement is painful.
• Discouragement is untimely.
• Discouragement is lonely.

Be confident that you’re not alone in your hurt (see yesterday’s comments).

Here are 10 ways that you might battle the occasional seasons of discouragement:

1. Find an experienced, but neutral, mentor who will listen to you. My encouragement is to make sure this person is outside your church so your conversation isn’t divisive.

2. Seek to spend time with an upbeat friend who is outside of your youth ministry. The benefit of an upbeat friend is that being with a friend who doesn’t really care about your ministry, but cares about you, can be very refreshing.

3. Realize that not everyone will understand you and your ministry. Actually, it’s fairly safe to state that no one will value your ministry as much as you. Perspective can be insightful.

4. Take a day off. A real day off…a day off of email, a day away from the ministry, a day of rest.

5. Schedule solo time away. Once a quarter take an entire day with your journal and Bible and get away. Solitude can really help.

6. Clear the piles on your desk. Piles can be depressing! Shove everything into a box and deal with it later. A clean desk can make a difference in your attitude.

7. Get some sleep. Even if you don’t think you need more sleep, get some any way.

8. Start in a discouragement journal. Write your thoughts out. Write out the discouragement journey from A-Z. It’s amazing when you look back and see God taking you thru a discouraging season and it will happen again.

9. Begin an affirmation file. Save the “keepers”… read them when necessary. Being reminded that you’re not hated and/or a loser can help.

10. Pray! You’re not the first leader to bend the ear of God.

Thankfully there is hope in the midst of discouragement, and because the God of the universe is involved, it’s plentiful. Light is out there for the discouraged.

Don’t loose sight of the eternal Light in the midst of the temporary darkness. When discouragement hits you, count on the reality that God will use that season in your life to increase your ministry effectiveness (God doesn’t waste a hurt).

There’s my 10 ideas…please add to the list! Next week I’ll post all your ideas from yesterday and today. I’m anxious to learn from your ideas!

These are such great steps that everyone should follow. I think numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 are huge in my life. Without doing these things every once in a while I would be so lost. 


Unconditional Love: with conditions

In Greek, there are four different words for “love” with four different meanings. The Bible uses the term “agape” the most. Agape is the term used in the famous Love Chapter of the Bible.

1 Corenthians 13:4 Love  is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Agape is the truest form of love. It is distinguished from friendly love, lustful love, and familial love. It is Godly Love.

We use love to talk about many things. “I love this pizza.” “I love your hair.” “I love to swim.” “I love you.” They all express a form of affection for something, but all are on completely different levels. God’s love is perfect. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love is agape.

Do we experience this love anywhere other than God?

Can a human truly love unconditionally?

These are questions that I have been asking myself for years. As Christians we strive to love like Jesus. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We try to mimic the love He showed for us by dieing on the cross. In my efforts I always seem to come up short. My selfishness, laziness, and ego usually tend to win out at some point or another. Can I love unconditionally? Is it possible for people to love unconditionally? I have had this debate many times with Christians, here is a  common rebuttal…

“I love my spouse unconditionally.”

You may love your spouse, but do you truly love them in any condition? Lets be hypothetical for a moment. If your spouse walked into the house today and said, “Honey, I hate you”. You can probably say you would still love them. Then your spouse pulls out a gun and shoots you in the leg. Maybe, you could forgive them and continue to love them. Your leg starts to heel, meanwhile your spouse is out cheating on you repeatedly with multiple people including your best friend. If you can still find it in your heart to love them you are a better man than me. But then your spouse returns and maybe, just maybe you find it in your heart to love them again. Then they pull out a gun again and shoot your other leg. At some point in this hypothetical situation you are probably saying to yourself, “OK, I would be done.” If not, you are either lying to yourself or stupid, but I’m willing to bet that if this happened over and over you would eventually find yourself not loving your spouse any more.

This scenario is a little extreme, but you get the point. To love unconditionally is to love no matter what happens, no matter how many times they hurt you. No matter how many times they abandon you, beat you , shoot you, and cheat on you. That is agape.

I truly believe as humans we do not have the ability to love unconditionally. Apart from God we will never come close, but even with God our human nature will win out at some point, in some situation. Think about it…

Have you ever lied to the person you love the most? Probably

Have you ever hurt that person by mistake or even on purpose? Most likely

Have you ever made a decision that considered yourself more than that person? Yes

You have failed at loving unconditionally. You have loved with conditions. You are human.

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS…God loves us unconditionally!!!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

No matter how many things we do to Him, he has already forgiven us. We choose to sin daily and he still loves us. From Adam and Eve until tomorrow we continue to shoot him, deny him, and sin against him, but He has already showed us unconditional love by sending his Son.

God’s love is unconditional because God is love!

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Apart from God, we will never experience true love. God is the only one with the capacity to love unconditionally because He is true love. So then, as humans, how do we come closest to loving unconditionally? How do we agape someone? This is how…

1 John 4:8-9 because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

We must allow God to love through us. We must share His love with others. We must bring them to God so that they will be able to experience agape. This is why we testify, witness, and evangelize. We are doing it to bring them the unconditional love that is God. A person who does not have God in their hearts will never know true  unconditional love and no matter how hard we try we cannot show them true love without showing them God. Only by opening their heart to God will they know what its like to be loved unconditionally.

We show unconditional love by showing God. God is true love. God is agape.

Dare 2B Daniel (Lions)

The Setup:

As Daniel was moving up the ranks of the kingdom, other leaders became jealous and tried to find the dirt in his past. As you read through the first part of chapter 6 of Daniel, it sounds a lot like an attempted smear campaign in today’s time. I guess things don’t change that much in 2000 years. When the administrators realized they couldn’t find any dirt on Daniel they decided to change the law to make it illegal for Daniel to pray to anyone except King Darius. King Darius declared that anyone who prayed to someone other than him for 30 days would be thrown into the Lion’s Den and left for dead. Even though it was banned, Daniel continued to pray to God in the privacy of his own home. As you probably already know, he was ratted out and sentenced to the mercy of the Lions.

The Content:

Lions… have you ever been face to face with a lion? Me neither. Its a little hard to imagine being locked in a lion’s den with real lions. Our lions can be a little different than Daniel’s.

Lions=Fear         Lions=Obstacles        Lions=Addiction      Lions=Oppression

Daniel 6: 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

Daniel was squeaky clean. He had lived his entire life following God’s plan for him and yet he ended up here. He was face to face with one of the most intimidating creatures in the world. If you were in his shoes, how would you feel? I think most of us would question God.

“God, I don’t deserve this!” “Why am I here.” “All the other ‘bad’ people out there and I’m the one in this pit.”

Sound familiar? When we get faced with lions in our lives we often feel that its because of something we have done wrong or its unfair because we have done nothing wrong. Daniel didn’t feel this way. He kept his faith. He trusted that this was all part of God’s plan and God would deliver… and He did!

The Conclusion:

Daniel 6:19-22 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

Are you facing any lions? Are you overcome with fear and anxiety? Are you battling an addiction that seems to be killing you? Are you stuck in a pit full of obstacles with seemingly no way out? Have you ever been in Daniel’s shoes?

The Point:

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Trust in God. He will save you from your lions.

The Application:

When you are faced with your own lions, how will you react? Will you let it kill you or will you be like Daniel and emerge with no wounds because you trusted in God?

Blythe Movie Night

Love God

Love People

Love Wins

Prove It!

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Blythe Movie Night was tonight and it was a huge success. This is one of the ways we serve our community in love at Radiant Life Fellowship. God has called us to love others by putting them first. A team of volunteers from RLF put aside their Friday evening and night and devoted it to serving their community and it was a beautiful thing.

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Watching the setup, breakdown, and all the work put in behind the scenes was like seeing God paint a collage with all the different gifts he gave us. Some people working on the technical stuff, some on putting out chairs, lights, plants, and other decorations to make the stale gym feel a bit more like a home theater than a gym, and some serving food and drinks to everyone. What a beautiful picture!

Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Nights like this give me hope, they inspire me, and they fill me with strength. By serving others, we become strong. That is how I know God is present. When we serve out of our own strength we become weary. When we serve with God’s strength, we are able to accomplish more and become stronger. Without God’s strength Blythe Movie Night would never have happened.

1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I can’t wait to see how we will “Prove It” next!


Dare 2B Daniel

This weekend I started going through a lesson plan with the 5th graders at Radiant Life. Billy Graham Ministries based a study around Daniel and geared it towards students. Its to better equip them to share the Gospel and stand firm in their beliefs just as Daniel did in the Bible. I don’t think students are the only people who can learn from this study.

I learn most effectively through teaching. As I prepare myself to teach I always learn more and grow deeper. So as I walk through this with the 5th graders I am going to walk through it on here for myself.

When Daniel is introduced in the Bible he is a pre-teen. He has been chosen by the Babylonians as one of the best and brightest youth. They take him and the other chosen youth and begin brainwashing them and forming them into the perfect Babylonian.

Daniel 1:3-5  Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

The King even changed their names, which in those times was a common practice when someone was “born again”.

Daniel 1:8    But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel chose to stand strong in his beliefs. The Babylonians worshiped their king and many gods, but Daniel had been raised to believe in the God of the Bible, the Hebrew God, Yahweh. He also was raised to respect himself and his body.

Daniel was able to stand firm in his beliefs even when the king and the Babylonian world were trying to tell him otherwise. He was able to do this because of his strong foundation in God and the scriptures. This is why we study the Bible and why we memorize scripture. So that we can stand up against the false teachings of the world and defend ourselves with the Word of God.

John 3:16      For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This is the first verse in equipping anyone to share the Gospel. It is our first memory verse in D2BD. This is our first step in being able to stand up against the false teachings of the world and spread the love of God. This is where it begins…

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