2.26.2015

Eternal Realities


there have been a few examples throughout the last two weeks where i have been frustrated with the way Christians are standing up/sharing their faith. i guess to summarize these encounters have left me disappointed in their boldness for the gospel.

i can't imagine the amount of times i disappoint Christ by not living out my faith better with more boldness. since i have a PHD in reflecting (not saying its a good thing…ask my husband!) i started reflecting on the way i am sharing the gospel today and comparing it to last month, six months ago, a year ago.

after deeper thought i realized that the majority of my boldness has come from thinking about hell.

did you think that would be my answer? nope. me either. i was actually shocked.. which is why i'm writing it on this blog because i find it so intriguing.

if you have been a church goer for most of your life, take a second and think how many Sunday services you have sat through? now tell me how many Sundays the pastor talked about hell?

before listening to Pastor Peter (my pastor at Emmanuel Church now) i had never heard a sermon from my home church on hell.

i think this is wrong. very wrong. you may be reading this saying- "we don't want to offend people" & "we don't know who is going to hell," but when i read the active and living word of God, Jesus offends people because he speaks the truth. & your right, God alone makes the call whether each individual is living eternally in heaven or hell- but that doesn't mean hell isn't real or that it doesn't exist.

the other thing - Jesus talked about hell more then anyone in the Bible.

the thing that has made me bolder in my faith, more passionate to tell others is the fact that as a Christian who believes in the authority of the bible, i believe in hell. and yes, i believe people will go there.

the scares me to the bone and gives me chills even typing this out. people i know and love and are my friends may go to hell if they don't surrender their lives to Christ.

it woke me up. 

i also know that the bible says Jesus will come back when no one is expecting and that we are to anxiously wait for Jesus to return. (Mark 13:32)

that makes me want to work harder for the gospel. knowing that Jesus could return at any minute, i need to share his love and power with anyone who will listen to me.

its made me bolder for Christ because i do not want anyone i come in contact with to not have heard the gospel. i am less concerned if they get offend with me, tell me to shut up (that has happened) because i so don't want to meet God and for him to ask me why i didn't tell my friends, family, anyone i came in contact with about His saving love and grace.

if i really believe God is the answer, why would i be afraid to tell others about it? its like if you knew the cure for cancer, but you never shared it. if i know the truth (which i believe 100% i do) then i need to share it with others despite what they think or say about me. i have to answer to God not people. 

i know that i personally do not save anyone, its the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel that goes out and changes people. but i know i am called to go and make disciples knowing full well that the Holy Spirit who lives inside of me will speak through me.

someone asked me this week how to get more confident in their faith. the number one answer i always give is to read God's word and know it for themselves… but from these thoughts i also said to think about hell. to really grasp an eternal perspective.

the bible tells us that our time on earth is like a vapour. (James 4:14) aka short. very short compared to eternity living in heaven or hell.

as Christians, we have work to do. lets do it, lets work hard to advance the gospel since we are only hear for a vapour knowing the that Holy Spirit is equipping us for every good work. Remember it is Gods heart for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) that is why God sent Jesus, but as his ambassadors on earth - we need to tell people about it!!

if you are a Christian are you being bold for the gospel? are you living with an eternal perspective? do you believe in hell? Jesus did (Luke 13:25-28 & many many other passages)
or are you worried about earthly things that will fade away with no eternal value?

if you do not call yourself a Christian this post and my heart is not to "scare anyone to Christ" or to scare you into believing in God. but i will be bold with you and say that i do believe in hell and that people will go there (because i believe in the bible). if you do not know about God or haven't ever experienced His love or incredible power i'd love to chat with you. email me and we will go from there.

i deserve hell. every human deserves hell. the only reason i know i'm not going there is because Jesus Christ died on the cross and He took my punishment. He saved me. & by laying down my life for Jesus I gained a new life with Him. sounds confusing.. email me!


xo
maddie




2.16.2015

My Modesty Journey


my journal is chalk full of modesty thoughts, comments and observations.

i've been writing it all down and reflecting from year to year. and honestly it has changed so drastically. i've never had the courage to blog about it because it is a personal story, my personal story and i respect and value others personal journeys with modesty. i acknowledge that other people who love Jesus with everything they are have different convictions when it comes to modesty. i get that. and i guess i haven't blogged about it yet because it isn't one of the fundamental beliefs that determine ones acceptance into heaven on judgement day. what i mean is that even though two Christian women (or men) may have complete opposite views on modesty that doesn't change that they are going to heaven and will live glorifying God eternally.

so why now? why did i get the courage to type this out rather than continue to write it in my journal.

veronica partridge. 

she wrote a blog post declaring that she wasn't going to wear leggings anymore because it can encourage men to lust. (read it hereit went viral. crazy viral. she even appeared on good morning america. people have supported her but on the whole veronica has gotten horrible comments. she had no idea that her personal blog post would go viral. but what makes me type out some of my journey is not the fact that she posted her conviction on leggings but the negative response she got because of it.

it made me angry that she can't post her personal convictions on her personal blog without being bullied. i hurt for her as she got slandered because i support her taking a stand when she felt convicted. oh how i wish more Christians would change when they feel convicted of something.

veronicas story gave me the courage to write out my own. so after that lengthly intro here i go!

where i am now (with what i wear):
i will not wear a bikini at the beach (one piece please!). i will not wear leggings in public ever - unless a shirt is covering up my bum. crop tops freak me out and when i tried wearing one i just couldn't. if i ever think a top is to low i just don't wear it/purchase it. to me, when striving for godliness - there is no point going as close to my modesty line - if i question it for one second i don't do it because it is not worth it to me.

where i was at sixteen-ninteen(ish): 
the jean mini skirt was still in and i was obsessed with fashion. my mom requested i wear black leggings underneath because the skirt was way to short. as soon as i got dropped off at school i took them off in the bathroom. its the guys fault if he wants to look and lust; not mine. i wore a bikini proudly. i was a junior national track athlete - i had an incredible body and showing it off at the beach was a way i was proud of my body and hard work. i followed modesty rules at a camp i worked at (no leggings, one pieces, and shorts that didn't show my butt-cheeks) but when camp was over i just wore them again (but not the butt-cheek shorts.. those never appealed to me thankfully!)

what has changed for me:

- i stopped being so selfish. writing my "where i was at sixteen-eighteen" it is so clear that modesty was all about me. me looking good. me feeling sexy in a bikini. me wearing what i wanted because it is fashionable. me wear leggings because it is comfortable for me. me me me me - gah. Jesus, i am so thankful that you called me to pursue you when it comes to modesty - not me!

- i had open conversation with Christian and non- Christian guys. one quote that stuck with me when this guy said "he loved flying because so many women when they fly wear yoga pants and he gets to check out so many women at once." - obviously wasn't a God-fearing man saying this - but it woke me up. i asked very open hard questions with my boyfriend/fiance/husband and i am so thankful for his honesty in his struggles. these modesty conversations really opened my eyes to the struggle men have with lust and what i can do to help & not make it worse.

- when i stopped thinking about me and my "comfort" i started thinking about how i could best respect and love my brothers in Christ. this was a huge thought change in my journey on modesty. it wasn't an obligation to dress differently for them or a rule i had to follow at camp… it was a desire. a genuine desire to do my absolute best in my wardrobe to not cause my fellow brothers to stumble. its a desire the Holy Spirit gave me and i am so thankful for that.

- leggings. i realized that yes they are different then tight jeans and non christian guys will check out my butt when i walk by every time - and i so DO NOT want that! gross! ….and christian guys… well its a huge temptation for them to look & i so don't want them looking- that is for me and my husband. this quote says my thoughts to a tee:
"For the uninitiated, leggings are those skin tight spandex pants that were originally designed to be worn under other pieces of clothing, but which have now become popular as regular attire for some women. They are tailored to accentuate every curve, and as the saying goes, they leave little to the imagination. In other words, if worn on their own and not underneath something else, they’re immodest. Of course they’re immodest. If spandex butt-huggers aren’t immodest, then what is? Do you have to actually walk into the grocery store wearing nothing but socks and a sign that says “HEY LOOK AT ME” before we can accuse you of being a bit too forward?" (Matt Walsh)

- i want to be known as a woman of virtue. so so bad. when Jesus looks at my life i want so desperately for him to say that i am a woman of virtue. that i respected my brothers enough to not walk even close to the modesty line. that i respected myself. i even want people when they hear my name to think - "that is a young woman who is striving for godliness" & with that God has called me to be holy (1 Peter 1:16) and as i am learning what being holy means i am learning that means dressing modestly.

- "its not his job to look" - your right. its not. but being married for a year i know that my sweet husband tries so incredibly hard not to look at other women at all. he doesn't want to and doesn't have any desire too. but when women wear yoga pants, or their boobs are falling out, or they are at the beach in their bra and underwear….opps..bikini… it is hard for him not to glance. and because this can be a struggle i want to tell those women to cover up - to please put something else on. i can't do that but it makes me sad. i do not want what i wear to cause anyones 13 year old son to lust after me or some women's husband. i feel like us women should stick together on this one and fight for women to dress more modestly for our husbands, brothers, future sons…yet most of the time i just see division.

- how much of my body am i willing to expose? if i want to be a women of virtue and seek godliness how much skin am i willing to show off? these questions have been so helpful with my modesty journey. i now feel (i was different on this even 2 years ago) that i can honour myself or dishonour myself but what i wear. i want to honour myself in every aspect of my life including how i dress.

- & one last quote from Matt Walsh that has changed for me:
"So if your Christian brothers are saying that you are making it more difficult for them to remain on the pure and chaste path when you go out in public wearing something that very explicitly highlights the private regions of your body, if you know that your brothers in Christ struggle in this way, if you have heard them say it, then you better have very good reason to ignore them. I don’t think the reason exists. I haven’t heard it yet. “I like it, it’s comfortable, it makes me feel good, it’s convenient” — these aren’t moral defenses. They’re excuses, yes, but not morally positive reasons to act a certain way or do a certain thing."

thanks for reading all of this and hearing my personal thoughts on modesty. obviously i could write so much more but if you've made this this far that is an accomplishment.

i know so many people have different views on this stuff & if you feel led to share your thoughts with me you can in the comment section…or just start a blog and send me the link ahha! but seriously, i know different Christian men and women have different thoughts on this topic..trust me. i get that. this is just my perspective on it and my journey.

this is a hot topic, but one i felt led to share because of veronica. i am inspired by her boldness to stand up for modesty. this world is only dressing more provocatively and showing more and more skin. i desire to be a woman who isn't afraid to share that she is fighting for modesty and striving for a higher standard.



2.03.2015

Hopes and Dreams for our Student Ministry

we have an amazing publication that goes to our church body once a month and i got to write an article about student ministries for the month of february. thought it was good content to share on the blog - its long… so i give you permission to skim read! enjoy.


In my short twenty-two years of life I have fallen in love with the demographic we call teenage girls. I have loved walking alongside and mentoring many young woman and I am so humbled and blessed that I get to do this full time working in student ministries. The main reason why I love this age so much is because of my personal walk through middle and high school. I was at an age where I wanted to be loved and cherished more than anything. I wanted to fit in, to have the right friends, to matter. I wanted to matter. It’s a pretty vulnerable state to be in and one where someone or something can easily shape the next season of your life.

Looking back, I realized that if the Lord isn’t the one defining me in those vulnerable situations then someone and something else is; the world. We all know how the world tells teenage girls to act, behave and think and if you’ve been walking with the Lord for any amount of time you know that anything the world offers us in the end leaves us empty and broken.

I had a pretty solid relationship with Christ through my high school years but boy o boy did I struggle with what God thought of me. I didn’t know what the bible said about who I was in Christ and I didn’t know how to fully walk in my God given calling to go and make disciples. I wrestled (can I be honest and say sometimes I still do?) with practically walking out what God thinks of me and hearing what the world wants me to say and do.

I am super passionate about seeing a generation of women (and men) know what God says of them, what their purpose in life is (glorify Him and make disciples) and then to be able to confidently live it out. Working with young girls in South Africa for a year, to spending six summers working at camp living with high school students and now being on staff working in student ministries my heart cry has only deepened and I thank God for that.

So how does this practically look in student ministries at Emmanuel? I am all about practical thinking so lets dig a bit deeper into my thoughts!

First, I’ve realized that if I don’t spend time in the word of God and know what it says of me then I can’t let God’s word define me. It’s impossible to walk out God’s promises when I don’t even know what God has promised me in the first place. This is the first step for us in our student ministries here at the church. We want the students who go through “our program” to know their bible. It’s the first and most important step. How can they confidently go and make disciples in their schools when they don’t even know that the Holy Spirit is speaking through them, for example? It’s scary for Mark and I to talk to so many teenage Christians who never read their bible or know what is says. This breaks our hearts and the Lord has given us such a passion for the students of Emmanuel to know their bible and how it actually applies to their lives.

Secondly, what I realized is that you can’t just read God’s word on Sunday, attend bible camp, or go to the cool retreats and conferences. The world is sending messages and defining us all day long so only letting Christ work through you once a week isn’t enough. It’s just not good enough. This is something I personally struggled with so much through middle and high school. I attended all the church functions but during the week my friends told me that I needed to do “x” to get this guys attention and I needed to loose “x” weight to look prettier. When I wasn’t hearing and knowing what God thought of me all week long, I would unknowingly try to fit God’s word and the world’s advice together and obviously that failed me. So my second hope for our student ministries is not only that the students would know their bibles but actually want to read them throughout the week knowing that that is their daily bread and source of life.

Third, it has to be real to the students. It can’t be my faith that they believe, their parents faith, pastors faith, insert whoevers faith; it must be theirs. When working at a Christian camp with Christian teenage girls this was one of the most frustrating conversations I would have. They believe things about God because their parents told them, or their friends, but they don’t believe it for themselves. We know that so many teens fall away from God once they leave for college or move out and we know that is what they are up against. But I believe, that if a student knows their bible, reads it often and knows how it applies to their life that their faith will survive. Why? Because it’s real to them. They can look back on their life and pinpoint where the scriptures convicted them, encouraged them, where they practically saw God show up etc. Mark spends a lot of time at the end of our bible studies asking how it really applies to our lives. Yes, we just spent an hour reading our bible- but so what? If you can’t make sense of what was just read and apply it to your life, in middle or high school then it won’t transform you more into Christ. It has to be real. This is something where I can’t force a teenage girl or boy to make it real, so I get down on my knees and pray that Spirit would do what He can only do and make it real. I can trust God’s word and know that the bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) to make it real to the students.

I am reminded every Tuesday and Thursday when we open up the cafĂ© for the high school students how conceited the world is. How the grade 11’s wont talk to the grade 9’s and when those students come others won’t because they aren’t cool. My list goes on and on but you get the point. However, I know that behind the crop tops, swear words, iphones and social status they are young men and woman looking to be loved, and wanting to matter. I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to love them like Jesus and share the gospel with them. Can I be honest with you? Most times I am terrified what these students must think of me and how I am going to connect with the student in pj pants who smells like weed. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to walk into the room and try to start a conversation with a bunch of grade ten girls. But knowing that the Lord adores the student who smells like weed and the grade ten girls gives me the confidence to boldly share the gospel because I know its what will give them real life, purpose and matter eternally. I am not perfect, but by reading and knowing God’s word more, I know more what He is thinking and it fuels a passion in me to give the students something real.


Would you pray for me for more boldness to speak life to these students and pray that the students who come into Emmanuel’s Student Ministry program would know their bibles and be confident to live that out in this hurting world. Thanks for letting me share a bit of my story and heart for the student ministries here at Emmanuel.

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