Monthly Archives: April 2016

Desiring Greatness: An Evening for Women coming up!

We all desire to be found great.In fact we don’t just want to be good or great but we want to be the “greatest” …or at least close. In that desire, we often find ourselves running fast and working hard to get to this feeling of “greatness”. Jesus’ disciples were arguing over who would be the “greatest” and I wonder if we don’t find ourselves in the same ol quiet hidden argument. We might never admit it, but we are hoping to look like we are a front runner, like we are winning, like we have got it figured out. We try to achieve greatness physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, materialistically, socially and on and on.

Jesus was walking a road with his homies and came to a stop. He prodded as to what they were arguing about. Of course they wouldn’t admit it, but they were arguing over who was going to be the greatest in God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ challenge to our desire to be found great will rock our world if we let it. So, at our last Collide of this year, ( to see highlights of our winter Collide go here) we are going to center around this passage and allow Jesus to meet us in our great climb to be found great and invite God’s idea of greatness into our lives!

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We expect this to be a powerful evening full of stories from women around the northwest, worship, appetizers, mocktails, a  ministry fair and some big surprises up our sleeves! If you are a woman in driving distance, you are greatly encouraged to join us! Get your tickets here… 

Greater Things Part 3 by Willow Weston

“Greater things,” the two words Jesus used to describe what His disciples, His homies, are capable of. Is that you? Because Jesus said you can do even greater things than He did. That’s a radical statement coming from the One who turned water into wine and restored lepers and rose Lazarus from the dead. So either Jesus is blowing smoke or you are underestimating your potential. This 3 part series called Greater things challenges our confidence problem and helps us see that God always uses unlikely people.

In fact, God promises His power is made perfect in your weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not in strength. Not in armies. Not in crossfit. Not in titles. Not in flashy lights. Not in beauty and perfection. Not in dolla dolla bills ya’ll. You think that’s ludicrous?

So is a rod.

So are 5 stones and a slingshot.

So is a prostitute with her long list of tricks and the pain that led her there.

So is God on a tree.

Hanging there.

For you…

and me.

Salvation came through through pain.

suffering.

humility.

weakness.

wounds.

Why would you be able to bring it any other way?

Isaiah 53 describes what the Messiah, the ONE who could come and change the world, what He would look like: He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 

by his wounds

Funny, even God Himself didn’t use force or arrogance or the highest rung on a ladder or lots of letters after his name. He didn’t use a perfect family line or a position of power or wealth or worldly ideals of strength to impact the world. God used not a crib but a manger. God used not a “because I told you so” authority, but a “I’ll show you so” humility. God used not a long line of Christian nobility, but instead a family tree that was about as crooked as can be with harlots, ho’s and heathens that birthed His DNA. God used not a throne, but a cross. God used not success but suffering. God used not a strong hand of punishment nor a power play, but instead He laid down His life in a salvation move that was well played. And yet we think it’s going to be by our clout, our titles, our awesomeness, our cool factor, our magnetism, our put togetherness and our strength that changes lives? Who are we kidding?

What does God use to change the world?

Wounds. Jesus wears them like a shirt on His back. He stays there taking on our abuser’s abuse. The anger that was lashed out on us lashes Him. He wears the wounds that caused those wounds and those wounds my wounds have caused. He takes on the molestation and twisted confusion. He takes on the names they called us. He takes on the despair that leads young people to give up. He takes on the agony, the grief. He wears all of our wounds. He says with His life “These won’t keep you from me. These won’t separate us. Your wounds won’t have the final say. Mine will. My wounds will heal you. My wounds will set you free. My wounds will define you. My wounds will determine who you will be.”

God isn’t running from your brokenness. He wiped brokenness all over Himself. Your brokenness didn’t keep Him from saving you, it sure as hell isn’t gonna keep Him from using you!

God will use your pain for good. 

I love what Joseph- who was betrayed and abandoned by his own brothers and then used by God to reconcile his family and help people in famine- said: What you intended for harm, God intended for good.

I get it, I promise I do. Some of you have been abused and you still live in fear and your fear is paralyzing your destiny. Some of you, man, you don’t trust anybody because people haven’t been trustworthy and your trust issues are holding you back from great things. Some of you have been hurt by the Church and those wounds are keeping Jesus and his call on your life at a distance. Some of you are sure your mess will keep following all of your dreams so you’ve stopped dreaming. Some of you have been told you don’t have what it takes to do great things and you have started to believe it. You can believe all those lies because our brokenness lies to us.

We have a God who enters brokenness and purposes it. We have a God who can take everything you have ever been through and He can, instead of writing you off, write the best stories with your pain. Your story of abuse can set free someone who is being abused right now. Your parents’ divorce can comfort someone whose family is falling apart today. Your struggle to like what you see in the mirror can come alongside young women and keep them from going down the agonizing road you have. Your pain can point to His pain and His pain is what heals. God does His greatest work through pain. His and ours. Allow Him to meet you in your brokenness and use you there.

Jesus’ very presence challenged my confidence problem when I was a young college student doubting I could be used to do great things. And He continues to challenge my confidence problems. Everything I saw in Him made everything in me turn around. I went back to the pastor and said “God told me Never say no to what I can do through you. So here I am taking Him at His word that He use even me.” And that was when I became an intern at a church for God’s sake.

The pastors threw me in with the wolves. No training. No Bible 101. No speech class. All I felt I had in my pocket was pain and Jesus meeting me there. So up on a stage with a mic, I spoke a piece of my story. A girl came up to me afterwards and said, “I know what it’s like to hurt too. My stepdad beats me.” My very first lesson as a pastoral intern was that God used my pain to engage hers. She wanted my Rescuer. We wanted Him together. The day I turned around, putting my confidence in the greatness of what only God can do, was the beginning of experiencing greater things.

place your confidence

You want to change the world? You want to impact a generation? You want to live out your God-destined dreams? You can! Your confidence needs to be not in your self and what you can or can’t do. Your confidence needs to be in the greatness of Jesus Christ to meet you in your brokenness and use you there too. Turn around. Lay down your confidence and your insecurities. Lay down your failures and your past. Lay down your wounds. And pick up the greatness of Jesus Christ. You can be confident, He is all you need to do great things!

 

Greater Things Part 2 by Willow Weston

greater things

A few days ago I shared part 1 of 3 parts of this series called Greater Things. I opened up about my great sense of inadequacy to believe God could use me. God met me on a trail when I was walking home from class in college and spoke to me in a way that I knew I would have to decide when I stepped off that trail if I would follow Him or go my own way. When I stepped off that trail I knew what I was being called to do….

I applied to be an intern at my church.

I was sure they would find out who I really was and turn me down lickety split. On my 3rd interview, I sat down across from the Senior Pastor and he asked me if I was willing to try preaching. I said “Me? No way! Never! But I’ll clean toilets, greet old women, play dodgeball and talk to sassy teenagers about Jesus, but I will NEVER speak up front and actually have something to say that will change lives. Plus they will see my butt. And no one needs to see that.” They turned me down. Of course they did, I thought. I had an opportunity to do greater things but I walked away because I couldn’t believe God could use me…

Are you walking away from opportunities to do greater things because you struggle believing God can use the likes of you? I think you want to change the world and I think you think that the very thing that it’s going to take is the very thing it’s not. Some of you are waiting. You are waiting to get cooler. You are waiting to get tighter with the Big Man upstairs. You are waiting to sound more spiritual. You are waiting for a degree. You are waiting for your wounds to go away. You are waiting for your insecurities to be replaced with a strong self-confidence.

And you can wait until you’re blue in the face honey, ’cause you being more isn’t what’s gonna change lives. What’s gonna change lives is Jesus Christ and when I see Jesus Christ change lives it has little to do with what you’re waiting on. When I walked away from the opportunity to do something only God could do through me, I kept thinking about Jesus…

Jesus fiercely challenges

Jesus fiercely challenges our confidence problem.

Every thing I saw in Him told me that I was wrong. I was believing lies. I was letting my past determine my present. I was letting my wounds win. I was letting my insecurities call me. Are you doing that?

Everything in me wanted to turn around and take God at His word, counting on Him to be who He has always beenAnd who God has always been is a God who uses unlikely people. Throughout history God has used fraidy cats, punks, failures and big bad sinners with painful stories and sketchy pasts to change lives. God picks the least likely.

If God used the people we would use, then…

  • Goliath would still be bullying people. Instead God used an insecure, unequipped, young man who stepped up and didn’t let insecurity in what he didn’t have get in the way of what he was called to do. God used David to pelt an oppressive monster straight square in the eyes with a mere pebble to rescue His people.
  • Gideon’s people would still be oppressed while he put his confidence in his sissy baby self. Instead, God found that unlikely wimp hiding in fear, peeing his own pants and God used him to set His people free!
    The 5000 hungry humans would still be hangry but instead God chose to use an unlikely little boy’s lunch to feed a small city.
  • The Israelites would still be slaves for Pharaoh, the Red sea never would have parted and we would be missing one of the best Disney movies ever if Moses would have let his stutter and disability determine what he was supposed to do with his life. Instead Moses allowed the call of God to be louder than his weaknesses and that saved a nation.
  • The 5000 hungry humans would be hangry right now if God hadn’t chosen to use an unlikely little boy’s lunch, 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish to feed them.
  • The Philistines would still be oppressing the Israelites had God not chosen to use the jawbone of an ass to turn them into Philly steak sandwiches.

You can sit around until you’re 105 saying “I’m too.” I’m too young in my faith. I’m too much of a disappointment. I’m too stained. I’m too plain. I’m too different. I’m too weighed down with baggage. I’m too ungodly.

I’m too? God’s too.

God’s too BIG! God’s too SUPERNATURALl! God’s too MIGHTY! God’s too POWERFUL! God’s too AMAZING! God’s too everything you’re too not! If you think its unlikely God can use you, you are in the right place. That’s where Moses was at the burning bush. That’s where Gideon was in the winepress. That’s where Joseph was in a hole his brothers threw him in.

unlikely is

Unlikely is God’s middle name. It is there people will know His first. God uses unlikely people so we know it’s Him and it’s when you start to believe this, it will be you He uses! It’s often when you are peeing your pants, when you are stuttering, when you are a harlot, it’s in that kind of unlikeliness that God does His greatest things!

God confounds us.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 says God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are…

The word shame is more accurately the word confound which means to: bring to ruin, destroy, baffle, frustrate, throw into confusion or perplexity. God will confound you by who He uses. God will surprise you. God will not be predictable in His power. His power cannot be made sense of by man. So then when He uses nitwits, depressed artists, recovering drug addicts and shy people, only God gets the props. “It must have been His power,” people will say.

God wants to confound people with your life. Will you let Him?

Come back Tuesday and be continually encouraged that God can and will do greater things in and through your life!