thoughts

Christ’s Love Compels Me

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Apart from me, no one comes to the Father.”

In Jesus alone is the gift of eternal life, given to us freely but purchased by His own blood on the cross.

When we put our trust in Him, we are redeemed, we are set free, and we are adopted into the family of God!

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Mom and I have been talking about the beautiful thing it is to be part of the family of God. Even when we meet complete strangers who also love Jesus, you can sense that we share the Spirit of God in us. (And my Mom and I experienced that this very morning… at the IRS office! God works in amazing ways.)

There is such joy in knowing the Lord and walking with Him. And it is His love in me that compels me to love the world like He does.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:16-17

When I glimpse the incredible love that God has for the world – and I understand how many people have yet to hear the name of Jesus – my heart breaks.

More than 2.7 billion people in the world today (about one out of five) have never heard of Jesus. They’re without salvation and hope, for both this life and the next. And that means that they are on their way to hell.

It is chillingly clear in Scripture that those who do not choose Christ will not inherit eternal life.

I was struck by the analogy that I recently heard about this. If you are planning a trip to Disney world, and you’re packing, planning your road trip, and start driving there, you’re on your way. A few things might come up that deter you for a minute, but you are still on your way.

If it is true that those without Christ are on their way to hell, like the Scriptures say, how does that impact how I live today?

This is a sobering and challenging thought that the Lord is teaching me through right now.

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I’ll close with some lines from a song that has been playing in my head, ‘O Come to the Altar’ by Essential Worship:

Are you hurting and broken within,
Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin,
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself,
Do you thirst for a drink from the well,
Jesus is calling.

O come to the altar,
The Father’s arms are open wide,
Forgiveness was bought with,
The precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes,
Come today there’s no reason to wait,
Jesus is calling.
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy,
From the ashes a new life is born,
Jesus is calling.

Oh what a Savior,
Isn’t He wonderful,
Sing hallelujah Christ is risen,
Bow down before Him,
For He is lord of all,
Sing hallelujah Christ is risen.

Read more: Elevation Worship – O Come To The Altar Lyrics | MetroLyrics

One Year Anniversary

  One year ago today, I was accepted on staff at Gospel for Asia. Praise God; He is so faithful. This year has gone by so quickly, but has been so full of growth, challenges, tears, laughter and joy. I am grateful for Jesus’ love and the new life He gave me… And the privilege to serve at GFA and share the gift of Christ’s love with people who have never yet heard. The best is yet to come!

Okay, Deep Question Time

clara-athens-coffee-shop
Yesterday morning my sister Clara and I were eating breakfast and talking about asking hard questions. Sometimes we joke around, and say “Okay, deep question time” or “Whoa, that’s oceanic” (meaning really deep.) But asking a friend questions that are beyond the surface, or questions that show we care, helps knit our friendship that much deeper, or helps create a friendship where there was not one before.

Clara has a penchant for asking deep questions. Basically, she has a thing for it. A common occurrence when we’re washing dishes*, or making tea, or going on a drive (now that we live in the country) is for Clara to ask, “So, what has God been teaching you recently?”

Sometimes I don’t know how to answer that question right away.

But I’m so grateful for Clara pressing on to take relationships a step deeper. I have been challenged to do this too, and see how it becomes a blessing to both me and others.

These are some questions I am asking people in my life:

  • What is God teaching you right now?
  • How did God call you to serve here?
  • What are your goals for this year?
  • What aspects of God’s character is He revealing to you?
  • And… do you know of any good churches in Terrell?**

How beautiful is it that having these conversations not only grows us closer as friends, but brings joy to Jesus too?

Crystal Stine’s blog post The Questions We Need to Ask got me thinking about reaching out as a friend and asking questions, and was part of the inspiration for this post. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it.

I’ll close with a quote from Crystal:

“The questions we need to ask don’t need to be long or deep or fancy. They just need to be honest and from a heart that is willing to truly listen to the answer. It’s about knowing your friend, what her passions are, and asking God to show you the best way to pour love and encouragement into her life.” (source)


*When Clara and I wash dishes together, it’s actually more common for us to sing than to talk.
** This question recently led to a beautiful conversation with my hair stylist!

I Will Proclaim His Faithfulness

“’I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’ I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
– Psalm 40:8-10

At the end of 2013, I was praying and seeking what direction God wanted me to go after the intense year of growth and discipleship at SD Canada. God spoke His call to me through this passage, Psalm 40:8-10.

My heart’s cry was to do God’s will, and what was it He wanted me to do?

Above all, followers of Jesus Christ are called to know Him more fully and intimately. He calls us to surrender our lives to Him, holding nothing back (Luke 14:33), and to love Him above all (Matthew 22:37-39). And through Psalm 40:8-10, God showed me my call to proclaim His faithfulness.

My life isn’t about what I can accomplish for the Lord, because it’s really about what He has already done: His finished work on the cross of paying for the sins of the world and offering us the gift of salvation.

I desire for my life to be about Jesus:  100% surrendered to Him, no turning back.
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“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” –Philippians 1:21

There is no way I can ever repay Jesus for what He has done – saving me, adopting me, giving me eternal life – so all I can do is thank Him. And out of my love, I want to live for Him with everything I am.

I desire to PROCLAIM the faithfulness and steadfast love of the Lord through my life, and I want this blog to shout that loud and clear too.

This works alongside His call on my life to missions – and that’s a whole story in itself too. :)

I look forward to posting more on this blog, and hopefully starting conversations with you about the faithfulness of the Lord!  So tell me, what has the Lord been doing in your life this season?

Entering a New Season

Meet the January 2014 School of Discipleship Second Year Graduating Class! That’s quite the mouthful to say. :)

I had the privilege to walk through 2014 with these 13 men and women, with all the challenges and joys of being the very first SD2 class. We were affectionately known as the “guinea lambs”!

jan 2014  year 2 class pic

First row: Joshua, Nathanael, Josiah, Christian, David, Jarius, Daniel | Second row: Natalya, Taylor, Lanae, Trula, me, Amanda, Sharlena

The Lord has taught me so much through this year and through my classmates. The various health struggles through  the year, moving from my hometown, adjusting back to being in the USA, new roommates, and an almost-overwhelming amount of homework… those things were all hard. But it seems like God works through hard things to teach me the most. He taught me trust, dependence, and faithfulness in the little things (a few of the many lessons).

Whether they realize it or not, my classmates taught me many things too. :) Perseverance. Passion for the lost and boldness to share the Gospel. Trust. Unity. Loving the differences in the Body of Christ. Patience. Commitment. Knowing God as our Father. Using our talents and creativity to glorify God. Joy. Putting others first.

We graduated from School of Discipleship on December 9th, and since we completed the second year of the program, we’ve really finished. Each of us are pressing on to what the Lord has called us to next; some to Bible college, some to overseas missions, some back home, and some coming back on staff at GFA. I’m one of those coming back on staff. I’m still here at Gospel for Asia since my family serves here, but it’s pretty different not being a student and not being around my classmates anymore.

My classmates and I are now entering a new season, and it most likely will hold more change, more transition, times of uncertainty, and struggles. But I know that we can walk with confidence in Christ, pressing on to know Him more and make Him known.

Read over this passage from Philippians and let it sink into your heart. And instead of just closing this window and clicking over to the next tab in your Internet browser, maybe open up God’s Word and spend some time with Him thinking about what He’s called YOU to do.

“Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered lost for Christ’s sake. Yes, and I look upon everything as loss compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For his sake I did in actual fact suffer the loss of everything, but I considered it useless rubbish compared with being able to win Christ. For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection: now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died, so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead. Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.” – Philippians 3:7-14 (Phillips Translation)

One life at a time

Have you ever heard the story of the boy and the starfish? As the tale goes, many starfish were washed upon a beach by the tide, and would soon die from the sun and lack of water. A little boy walked down the beach, picking up starfish and tossing them back into the water, saving lives one by one. A man walked by and saw the starfish rescue operation, and told the boy, “You’ll never finish, there are too many to save them all.” In reply, the young boy tossed another starfish back into the life-giving water, and said, “I made a difference for that one.”

starfish

When we hear big numbers like ‘2 out of 5 people have never heard of Jesus’ or that 2.5 billion people are still unreached, it’s easy to think, “How can we ever make a difference?” and I’m right there with you.

I traveled to South Asia last fall, and I was struck by how many unreached people filled every square mile. It was overwhelming. How could we ever reach them? These kind of thoughts filled my mind while I was visiting a Bridge of Hope center in a densely populated city.

BOH one life

But then, this little boy got up to share his testimony. With a mischievous smile on his face, he told us that he used to be a naughty boy. Going to the Bridge of Hope center totally changed his life, and he’s not naughty anymore.

The Lord gently spoke to my heart through this boy’s testimony, and I learned a lesson similar to the other little boy and the starfish. What He said was this: there are many yet to be reached, but every single life that is touched and changed matters.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells us there is great rejoicing in heaven over every soul who comes into the kingdom! And I think there must also be great rejoicing over every child whose life is changed, every person who decides to live in light of eternity, and every family who finds hope.

 “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I wrote down this story of what the Lord has been teaching me originally to send to the bloggers who are part of our Blog for Asia team. However, I wanted to share it here on my blog too. This was one of the lessons the Lord taught me during our trip to South Asia, and it’s a good reminder that what I can do to help reach the lost, even in a small way, really does make a difference.

I hope to share more Faces of South Asia with you in the coming weeks, and show you glimpses of my trip last September.

Counting Up the Cost

In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. Before we can do that, we must first be disciples… hence the School of Discipleship! It doesn’t stop with me learning how to be a disciple, though – I must go and make disciples of others. True Discipleship by William MacDonald is a radical challenge for followers of Christ. Will we be more than just fans or followers? Will we be committed, sold-out disciples?

An area the Lord has been growing me in is counting the cost of being a disciple. Being a disciple means not just having a warm emotion of following Jesus, but consistently dying to myself and daily taking up the cross.

One day in the bathroom I have a small revelation – following Jesus won’t ever be easy, but it is so worth it! When Jesus called the twelve disciples to follow Him, He didn’t promise them ease or comfort; He promised pain, persecution, and suffering. Being a disciple will be hard, but it is worth every heartache, every inconvenience. Following Jesus is worth everything. A quote from True Discipleship really fits here: “…the Christian life deserves everything or nothing.”

God gave me Ephesians 4:1 tonight, as I was praying and seeking God’s calling on my life. “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Over the past several months, God has asked me, will I follow Him no matter what? As I prayed and searched my heart and sought God’s face, I found that my answer is Yes, absolutely. I want to be wholly committed to Christ, no matter what.

Pastor Danny has encouraged me to count the cost of following Jesus as I think about the different options before me in the future. Following God’s call on my life might mean giving up my home, my family, my dreams for the future, my photography. Will I be willing to give those things up and just have Jesus for my everything?

Being in Canada, doing School of Discipleship, being away from my home and family and what is familiar hasn’t been easy – but it is so worth it. Dying to myself, daily choosing to follow Jesus first, and being a disciple of Jesus Christ are all things that I am learning to do as I follow the Lord.

Counting the cost also means coming to a point of decision. I can’t say I have arrived at the goal or achieved the prize, but I have counted the cost and I say yes, I will follow Jesus no matter what.

In the recent past I had a very hard few weeks, when my grandma was sick and maybe dying, Auntie Jacie was fading from the cancer, and my best friend Emily would be moving to New Zealand for a year. I didn’t want to stay here. I wanted to give up and go home. But God really spoke to me through a song that was just randomly playing while I washed dishes one night – Today by Brian Doerkson. “Today I choose to follow you. Today I choose to give my yes to you.” I was reminded that God had called me to be here in Canada at this time, and I still needed to follow Him, trust Him, and give my yes to Him.

song lyrics by Rend Collective, “The Cost”

“I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You

I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it”

If I choose to follow Jesus, it means He needs to be first in my life in everything. First place in my priorities, how I spend my time. Jesus must be on the throne of my heart, not myself or anything else. And that means that I must forsake all else but Him. I must give up my dreams, wishes, talents, money, family, and time. None of these things can be priority. I need to surrender all those things, and seek Him first. And that’s one area that the Lord is still growing me in – forsaking all but Jesus.

If I say, “Today I choose to follow you” – that means I need to follow Him first and only.

Jesus said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” He repeated that over and over – in Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Luke 17:33, and John 12:25 – because it is so important.

William MacDonald says in True Discipleship “… life hugged for self is life lost, but life poured out for him is found, saved, enjoyed, and kept for eternity…”

Holding on to my dreams, my desires, and my possessions will never result in a fulfilled life. But a life forsaken to Jesus – that is where it’s at!

A true disciple is a bondslave to Jesus. Do you think a bondslave has anything he is holding on to for himself? No – he has forsaken everything. And I, as a bondslave to my master Jesus Christ, must give up everything to be His disciple.

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” When Jesus said that in Luke 14:33, He meant it! Not just that we should give up everything, or that it might be a good idea – we must forsake all or we cannot be His disciples.

When it comes to forsaking all and being a disciple, it means forsaking more than just money. All those things I listed above – dreams, talents, possessions, desires, and family – ALL must be given to Jesus.

I want Jesus to be my strength, my security, and my everything. He redeemed me, and now I’m not my own. It is only right that Jesus be first place in my life!

What the Lord has been teaching me about being a disciple isn’t quite cut and dried where it fits exactly into one category or chapter. But what He has been teaching me is that Jesus must be first place in my life.

Following Jesus won’t be easy, but it is worth it.


This post was a written assignment for the True Discipleship class in School of Discipleship year one, originally written in August 2013. 

update and newsletter

portrait from Clara

Good evening! This is just a quick update. It’s a super busy season in my life right now – I am a student with the School of Discipleship, learning and growing a lot, and being challenged daily. I hope to post more soon :)

I just sent out a newsletter, and you can read it too: https://eliciamoose.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/elicia-feb-2014-newsletter.pdf

 

fika

Kinfolk Magazine. A publication from creatives across the world. Like a small book. Published 4 times a year, and chock full of good reads, spread with dreamy and gorgeous photos, and dripping with inspiration.

Fika // going out for coffee, a Scandinavian term. This article in Kinfolk Vol. 1 resonated with me, perhaps because I’m Swedish, perhaps because I love friends, and perhaps because I love sharing food with friends. Perhaps a bit of all three. Fika is about coffee being more than just a quick caffeine fix; it’s about stopping and appreciating the moment of togetherness.

source: kinfolk magazine

project: forgotten christmas

Back in January, my sister Clara and I helped plan for Gospel for Asia’s Forgotten Christmas video. This is the second year GFA has done this project – and its purpose is to challenge the way we think about Christmas. This 2 minute video forces us to think, to look at Christmas differently.

Have we lost the meaning of Christmas? Have we covered it up with “stuff?” Has Christmas become about the decorations, the gifts, and the celebrations, rather than JESUS? We’ve let these things steal our focus.  It’s not the way it should be.

As Christians, we are to be in the world, not of it. It’s hard to fix our focus on the one thing that does matter – Jesus. It’s hard to tear ourselves away from this world, and to look at Christmas differently.

Put Christ first this Christmas.

Go watch this video here: www.forgottenchristmas.org

Last weekend I created this with my friend.

Time-lapse .gif of it’s making:

And just for fun:

You might notice the “gfa.org/gift” written in chalk up there. GFA’s Christmas Catalog is a way that we can help people who are lost and without hope. The Dalit people group in Asia is the Forgotten People (go to this link to learn more). We can remember them this Christmas, and share with them the love and hope of Christ. Not only can we tell them of the God who loves them, but we can help them in practical ways as well. With a goat, a sewing machine, a cow, some chickens – these people can make a new life for themselves, and learn of the One who died to save their sins.