Tag Archives: fellowship

Extended Family

Whether you are single or have a family of four, when you enter into relationship with God, you also enter into a family of believers. It doesn’t matter if you were looking for an extended family. You found one.

During the last several days I have spent a lot of time with my family. Wednesday night we sent one of our sisters off to Virginia to be with her family during a trying time. Like a family, we shared in her sadness yet we celebrated knowing her. We look forward to the next time we will see each other. Thursday night I attended Q Commons, a conference about improving the community we live in. Guess what! I met more of my brothers and sisters. My family continues to grow. Friday night I surprised my former church family by coming to their church Moon Festival potluck. The hugs and friendly greetings made me feel right at home. Yesterday morning I met my sister Sharon at the beach to watch her husband swim in a two mile race. We cheered on my dear brother as he crossed the finish line. Today I went to church where I got to celebrate God’s grace and mercy with even more family. I met new people, new brothers and sisters.

A church is not a gathering of people where you just go for a few hours to fulfill your religious duty for the week. It is a family that celebrates together, cries with each other, prays over its members, carries one another through the hard times, encourages, shares a meal, cares for its community. A family that no matter how many miles or how long it’s been since they’ve seen one another, they’re still family.

Time and time again I find that when I run into a fellow Christian on the street, no matter how long it’s been, you just pick up where you left off, and if you left off in a bad place, you move past it. It’s the way God transforms people, he helps us put our egos down and helps us cover each other with mercy and grace.

Thank a brother or sister for the ways they have supported you, appreciate you, loved you. It will mean so much for them to hear it.

The Warrior Amongst Worriers

Some of you might remember that I happen to attend a Chinese church, made up primarily of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants as well as some Chinese Americans, although I am not at all Chinese or Chinese American. Yesterday my pastor and his wife were kind enough to meet with me after church to talk about my spiritual wellbeing. I have been struggling a lot with worry and feeling unworthy. As we closed, my pastor said, “Chelsea, I see you as a worrier.”

To that I exclaimed, “Yes! I believe it’s an ancestral curse.” I went on to name all the people in my family that are worriers too. My pastor’s wife looked at me confused, “Well, a warrior…”

“Wait! What?!? Warrior?” I asked.

The whole time my pastor, in his Chinese accent, had been saying “warrior” while I had been saying “worrier.” Needless to say we had a good, hard laugh.

Let’s face it, we all struggle with worry, even if we are warriors deep down. A warrior is not just someone who is involved in war. It is someone who is engaged, active, energetic, and persevering. If you are only a worrier without being a warrior, you will likely become tired, unfocused, and discourage. Perhaps eventually you will give up and give in.

In looking at the qualifications to be in the U.S. military, you must of certain height and weight, be able to pass a physical test, you must be young, you must be a citizen, etc. If we translate this into what qualifies you to be spiritual warrior, we could say the qualifications are spiritual fitness, a youthful/energetic attitude, and you must be a child of God.

Today I’m going to address spiritual fitness. Work off the “flab” of worry to become a persevering spiritual warrior.

STEP 1. Drop the weight. Just as you cannot enter the U.S. military if you are obese and out of shape, you cannot run the good race carrying around the things that hold you back from growing in God. These may not be particularly sinful things, but just unneeded distractions from His plan. Perhaps you are like me. I sometimes get sucked into the black hole of the Internet, and end up surfing for hours. Or perhaps you need to trust God with the things that worry you, and lay them at His feet. As my friend says, “Let go and let God.”

STEP 2.  Look to those who have already completed the race well. The old adage “if they can do it, I can do it” says it all. We all came from a life of sin. Some will overcome, and some will not. Let us be inspired by those who have overcome and be motivated by their success.

3. Fix your eyes on Jesus. I hate running and exercising so much that sometimes I will picture some kind of reward at the end, like a big hamburger…I’m probably not going to be joining the U.S. military anytime soon. If we fix our eyes on our end destination, then we can overcome many obstacles. He is not only our destination, but our companion, encourager, and example for the race. Imagine running alongside a perfect runner who encourages you, and even though they have the physical ability to run much faster, they choose to run at your pace in order to keep you company and push you toward victory.

One way you can exercise these three points is to pray, study, and fellowship with other believers as well as God. Prayer is like fixing your eyes on Jesus. When you have meaningful conversation with someone, do you look the other way? No, you fix your eyes on their eyes. You feel what they feel. Bible study will help you recall those who have finished the race well. In difficult times you can reflect on Daniel in the lion’s den, Joseph sold into slavery, David facing the towering Goliath, and so many more. And when you fellowship with trusted believers you will take time, resources, and mind-space away from whatever extra weight you are carrying.

I hope that today you will have the courage to step out in faith, even if it means just opening your Bible. Every time we do that we can expect to meet opposition from the enemy, so be prepared to use your newfound warrior skills to fight back in the spiritual warfare we face daily.

The 3 main bullet points were adapted from a sermon by Dr. Paul Nyquist of Moody Bible Institute given at BASS Convention on 3/7/2015. 


It Wouldn’t be Called a Hunt…

Ever since I woke up in the wee hours of the night with complete peace about my next career venture, it’s been nothing but putting my nose to the grindstone. I have applied for nearly 15 jobs, most of which are closer to the school I want to attend so I can earn my degree in the most minimal time period. I tell you, sometimes I wish I hadn’t woken up that night. I think I would call the state I’m in “self-destruction for a cause.” I have woken up early almost every morning to work at least half an hour on future goals, and then when I return home from the job that is supposed to support those goals, I work on them some more, making very little headway.

I guess if getting on the right path were easy people wouldn’t talk about “hunting” for a job or “searching” for direction, etc. If it were easy then everyone would constantly be moving up the ladder. If it were easy it might mean that God doesn’t see me as resilient, a fighter, someone who can meet a challenge head-on. If meeting a goal were simple, there would be no need for a goal.

The one thing I have learned in the last two weeks of being absolutely stressed and spiritually miserable is that I can’t do this alone. I can’t! If I try to achieve my wildest God-given dreams on my own, I am, first of all, going to fail, and secondly, declining the assistance of the very giver, the very author of these dreams. This evening I took a walk down to a local church, something I like doing. The whole way there I prayed out loud, in a whisper, but still out loud. When I arrived there I photographed the outside of the church. Then I walked down to the corner and crossed the street. When I got to the gate where I hoped I could take a shortcut through the college campus, it was locked. I turned back around to head back in the same direction I came only to find that the church I had photographed was now open. I looked at the open door and passed by without stopping, but something in me told me to stop. You see, I had never been in this church or even heard of the denomination, but God wanted me to be in His house in my discouraged and worn out state.

Inside I met two gentleman preparing to have Bible Study. I explained that I have a hobby of photographing churches and asked if I could take a few photos before they started. As I took photos we chatted, and I left encouraged. Yes, God has given me a direction for my future, but He didn’t give me a ticking time bomb to fret over every waking (and sleeping) hour. I am meant to enjoy and connect with others, even when I am chasing after my dream.

Thank God that He is so gracious to wrap me in the arms of his creation and the warmth of my fellow believers to give me the comfort I need for the journey.