A Year to Remember

Sometimes I hate TV.

You are probably thinking that I am going to go off on some rant about how the Kardashians, I Am Cait, and the Real World are bringing about the demise of the country, but I’m not. You want to know what I hate more than all of those dramatic reality television shows? (Truth: I’m guilty – I often get caught up in dramatic reality shows. People can be so entertaining!)

The Christian Ministry channels. That is, the liberal preaching that’s so far from the Gospel spelled out in Scripture that I could throw up.

I understand that this is an exaggeration – a generalization if you will. Before I dive deeper, let me first explain that I do appreciate some televised preachers such as one of my personal faves, Billy Graham. However, the majority of televised sermons are full of un-biblical feel-good messages that not only confuse people spiritually, but frankly, lead people straight to hell. Yep, I said it.

“God wants you to be healthy. God wants you to be happy. God wants you to be rich. And, with enough faith, God will give you whatever you want.”

I’m not quite sure what Bible these prosperity gospel preachers read before they go on stage and lie to millions of people, but their words couldn’t be more…wrong.

God does loves you. He does care about you. But, this doesn’t mean that your life will always be full of rainbows and puppy dogs.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Sometimes, dare I say it, following Jesus means we aren’t always happy and healthy (not to mention the fact that there is sin in world). Simply put: God cares more about your holiness than He does about your happiness.

The thought that many people are being told, day after day, that they lost their job because they didn’t have enough faith, they are struggling financially because they aren’t trusting Jesus enough and their brain tumor diagnosis was, clearly, because they have a sin issue in their life is infuriating to me.

What about Biblical inerrancy? What about Biblical infallibility? What about Christian theological doctrine that is based on the Bible? It could be argued that the societal tolerance for loosened theology could be largely due to Christians lacking the theological doctrine necessary to rebuke these preachers, but whatever the reason, people that teach others something that is contradictory in any way to God’s Word are literally doomed to destruction.  His words, not mine. In Galatians 1:8 (shown below), the word “curse” is the Greek word “Anathema” which means, “a person or thing doomed to destruction.”

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:8 (NIV)

Matthew 7:15-20 says it like this:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20 (NIV)

It is my prayer that we as Christians be knowledgeable enough about Scripture to pluck out the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We need to use discernment when listening to preachers, comparing their words to God’s words to make sure they align properly. We need to hold the view of Biblical inerrancy (meaning the Bible is without error or fault in all its teaching) and Biblical infallibility (the belief that the Bible is incapable of error). Our standard should be nothing short of what’s written in Scripture. There is only one true Gospel – the Gospel spelled out in God’s Word – and that, friends, is what should be heard by all.

Imagine what could happen if people spent their weekday afternoons watching and listening to preachers who preached the true Gospel. National revival? Maybe.

We as a GLOW team decided that this week we would each talk a bit about what GLOW has meant to us. After all, TODAY is GLOW’s one-year anniversary! The first part of my post may seem to have swayed from the discussed topic, but for whatever reason this topic was heavy on my heart. I almost bumped it to next week, but then I got to thinking… Biblical inerrancy and theological accuracy is the foundation of what we are about. I couldn’t think of better timing than on our one-year anniversary.

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While GLOW may not reach millions and while we don’t have a televised platform, our view aligns with Biblical inerrancy. Take a moment to read what we believe:

Glow is Christ-centered and believes that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. We believe that Christ came to earth, died for our sins on the cross, and rose again on the third day. We acknowledge that we are sinners and need to accept God’s grace and mercy, asking Christ to forgive us for our fallen ways. We understand that God wants to have a relationship with us, and our goal is to encourage one another in this constant endeavor to be more like Him. We believe that the Bible is the Lord’s manual for our lives – it is infallible, incapable of error and inerrant in it’s entirety.

Exactly one year ago today, on September 29, 2014, GLOW launched. Oh how far we’ve come. We weren’t exactly sure what in store for this blogging community, but one year later, we have successfully:

  • Posted 5 days a week
  • Added three new members to the team
  • Developed a deep and loyal following
  • Grown in our personal spiritual walks with the Lord

Blogging once a week has not only challenged me in the discipline of actually sitting down to write once a week, but it has also kept me accountable for daily time with the Lord. I quickly realized that writing creativity was directly correlated with the current state of my relationship with Jesus. When I’m not spending enough time with God (or any time at all), I have nothing to say. Writing also forces me to think critically about the topics I write about. Yes…some topics are on the lighter side, such as last week’s Bible Study Tools post, but some topics have stretched to me to think hard and actually research what I think about an issue…and why I think that (such as this post). If we at GLOW are going to hold tightly to Bible inherency, Biblical infallibility, and true and accurate theological doctrine, it is my responsibility to ensure that my writing aligns with our standards (insert intimidated emoticon).

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of our readers and in more ways that I can describe, I am excited about the future and honored to be a part of such a wonderful team of ladies. Since this blog is a product of the hard work of many, I have asked all the girls on the team a few questions – some regarding their experience with GLOW and others regarding life in general to mix it up a bit. Take a moment to read what Kelsey, Andi, Amanda, Lauren and Sarah have to say. We’ve already read Amanda’s post yesterday, but be sure to stick around the rest of the week to hear more from Kelsey, Andi and Sarah about their experience with GLOW, what God is doing in their lives, and how you all, our readers, have been an influence on us as we go through life together, daily pursuing Him.


 

KelseyKelsey

We’ve all experienced writer’s block. What do you do when you are in the midst of it and how do you overcome it?

Oh, writer’s block is my faithful friend! There’s usually not a week that goes by where I don’t have at least a little bit of it! I’ve come to see it as a blessing in disguise though. A few months ago, I started to get writer’s block in regards to my writing for GLOW really frequently and I was getting pretty frustrated by it. I began to realize though that my writer’s block was directly correlated with my quiet time with the Lord i.e. the less time I spent with Him the more writer’s block I would have. This realization was very humbling but very comforting at the same time because it reminded me that it should be His message flowing through my fingers and not my own and it wasn’t up to me to figure out what to say, He wanted to tell me. So, in answer to your question, what I do to overcome writer’s block is this; I pray. A lot. Then I listen to worship music and sing along. A lot. Then I get in the word and see what I can find and try to look around my everyday surroundings and happenings for things that illustrate the love and goodness of the Lord. Finally, I wait in silence for all of it to sink into my soul and for Lord to whisper something and, let me tell you, I think He’s always got something to say.

What words of advice do you have for someone who is considering writing consistently and/or  starting a blog of their own?

Just do it! Write consistently I mean. Every writer should have a unique voice and yours will never be developed if you don’t speak up and share it. My husband (who is actually the real writer in our family) always tells me that you should write because you have something that only you can share with the world whether that’s through the message itself or the way you say it and you just couldn’t imagine keeping it to yourself. If that’s you, if you are passionate about something that you feel like the world needs to hear like we are about Jesus at GLOW then go for it!

What has been your favorite memory or aspect about GLOW in the last year?

I am a very social person so I have absolutely loved meeting such amazing women through GLOW. God has blessed each of us with such unique talents and I love seeing his handiwork showcased through all of the different women involved whether they are readers or contributors. I’ve also been so very humbled by the different comments, shares, emails and texts from women who tell us what God is doing in their lives through the stuff that we post! I’ve loved being used by Him to encourage women in their faith! Thank you for letting us do that and please don’t stop telling us about the goodness of the Lord in your lives!


 

FullSizeRender1Andi

What led you to say “yes” to being a weekly writer?

I’ve known Alyssa since college, so I already had the upmost respect for her. When she approached me about being a weekly writer, I needed to take some time to process and pray because I had just had my first baby! I began to pray, and it became so clear that the Lord was leading me to be part of GLOW. I had tracked my pregnancy through my own blog and enjoyed it so much, so I thought “why not?! Let’s give it a go!” And I’m so thankful I said yes!

What is one thing that you have learned about yourself or others through your experience as a weekly writer?
I have learned that none of us have it all together. I hope none of you ever read our posts and think, “Man if only I had myself together like these people.” Because we certainly don’t have it all together. We all have our struggles and I try very hard to be transparent as I write. I’ve also learned that you should give all opportunities a chance, even if you feel incapable or “less than.” I don’t feel worthy to be posting weekly, but God has used some of my words to encourage people in their every day. It makes our day when we read comments like, “That’s exactly what I needed to read today!” If God’s leading you to do something, jump in! He will give you the tools you need! He is going to use your abilities for His purpose if you let Him.
 

As you read other’s posts, what have been some of your favorite topics and what do you hope to hear more of in the coming months?

I SO enjoy some lighthearted posts every now and then! Some remodels, funny stories, glimpses into people’s homes, recipes, etc. I LOVE getting in depth with you ladies, but some of the lighthearted posts are FUN and make me feel like we’re sitting around chatting while we paint our toenails. It’s great to talk about the deep topics, but it’s also great to talk about FLUFF! :) I have enjoyed each and every contributor’s posts. GLOW has truly been a blessing in my life!


 

WeddingPhotoAmanda

You started writing for GLOW shortly after moving across the world away from your family, friends and the life you knew. How has the Lord worked in your heart through this transition and what advice would you give to someone who is planning to embark on a similar journey?

The Lord has literally rocked my heart in a million ways, and I am thankful for what He is doing, but it has certainly been hard. It sort of feels like my heart was this big sponge full of all the things I thought I knew and thought I was good at…full of all the things I found my confidence in apart from Christ. Through this transition, it feels like God is twisting and ringing that sponge out and constantly reminding me that I need to find my worth in Him.

To anyone who is about to embark on a similar journey, I say go for it! Do it with all of your heart. You know it will not be easy, and it is certainly not going to be easy. Cling to Jesus even when you don’t feel like it. Reach out to others if you are struggling and challenge them to keep you accountable. Give yourself grace to make mistakes, and allow God to make the best out of your circumstances instead of trying to fix things in your own strength.

In what ways can we support you and Drew that would be helpful to you in your context?

This may sound typical, but of course we could use the prayers and encouragement of this community. I love blogging once a week and hearing how what God is showing me impacts other people in the world. I also LOVE reading the other blogs the rest of the week on GLOW. It encourages me to write every week when others are also writing about what God is teaching them. I love getting feedback on posts, and I love hearing from our weekly and guest writers. Keep sharing what God places on your heart and it will challenge me to speak authentically from where God is speaking to my heart in our context half way across the world.

You can also support us by listening to, sharing and commenting on Drew’s music on iTunes and follow his band Oneheart on Twitter and Facebook. Before we left the states, Drew put together an EP of four songs he wrote during our last year there. Although we came to Zambia for Drew to go to seminary, his goal is to have a better understanding of the God, the Bible, and the church in order to enhance the way he feels God has called him to serve, through music. Zambia is full of wonderful, amazing people, and many ways for NGOs and churches to meet physical needs, but Drew has a vision to help meet people’s creative needs through art, music, and other methods of expression. We would love for you to support Oneheart and our journey here to help people through music and the arts. Spread the word, listen to music, and connect with us if you want to get involved!

If you had to name one thing, what is your favorite thing about GLOW, and weekly blogging as a whole?

I love the challenge! GLOW is an amazing network of beautiful people running after a common goal. I love the challenge of listening and seeking to find ways for God to speak through me, and each week I have a tangible opportunity as I write a blog for GLOW. Some weeks are much more challenging than others, but it is humbling to experience through this process that as I come to my lowest point, it allows Christ to shine brighter as my greatest strength.


 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLauren

You are the Editor in Chief of the campus magazine at California Baptist University. Tell us more about your responsibilities and what you plan to do with your experience.

As the EIC of Pursuit magazine, I am responsible for running a staff of copy editors, photo editors and designers in the production of the magazine throughout the year. We publish twice a semester and each issue tells stories of individuals on our campus, the ways God is working, fun generational trends and even societal issues that affect our students. Our fall 2015 issue is scheduled to be back from the printer on Oct. 19! We are beyond excited for that day and, let’s just be honest, I will probably shed a few tears when I am holding it in my hands for the first time. The vision that I have for Pursuit this year is to truly raise the bar in our excellence. We have had very strong staffs go before us and I know it is now my responsibility to help Pursuit become even better this year. Ways that we are doing this include, more thought-provoking articles, a higher level of photojournalism/visual storytelling, and a design fusion of trendiness and timelessness. As a publications staff at a Christian university, we believe that in order to reach more people with God’s love and refine our God-given talents, being relevant to the current trends and generational changes can be balanced with godly excellence and Biblical lifestyle. I have been, and continue to be, thoroughly humbled by my new experiences as a leader and every day I am learning to cling to my Lord for His guidance and grace. I pray that each issue of Pursuit this school year will shout His glory to a campus that has both the reached and lost.

What was it about GLOW that made you want to jump on board this summer?

Alyssa Martin. Meeting her this summer, working with her at SWBTS for a few days and having the opportunity to learn from her as a journalist and godly woman was HUGE for me. When she mentioned GLOW, I knew that jumping on board would not only allow me to continue to learn from Alyssa, but also from the other wonderfully godly women who are a part of it. I hope that I can be a help to GLOW, but the truth is that they have each been a help to me. In GLOW, I saw a genuine love for Jesus and a deep desire to encourage others. I also saw it as a unique discipleship opportunity, whether that is through blog posts, uplifting emails or a godly digital community.

As a college student, what types of issues are Christian women in their young twenties dealing with that challenge our Christian values? How can GLOW be a support system for this age group?

The main thoughts that come to mind with this question are, boys and direction.

Boys: Does this surprise you? From what I have seen at CBU, and am guessing is the case for many other young Christian women, is a desire and even pressure to find “the one.” This manifests itself into a skewed identity, a lack of affection for our Savior (our truest love), and even sexual immorality. The pressure is huge. There is also a feeling that the amount of solid, godly men in this generation is declining, mostly because the godly men of this generation do not know how to ask us out. At the same time though, solid, godly men who do pursue us are turned down if they are not a cookie-cutter, hipster, worship leader. This is a major, double-sided issue. The ladies of my generation need prayer. Prayer for their confidence, their identity, their godly standards, and their hearts. We also need older, wiser women to disciple us and convict us of getting too caught up in finding a husband or the perfect husband. Jesus should be our first priority. If being single means that we can reach more people for His name, then Amen! But that is so difficult to be okay with sometimes.

Direction: Trying to discover direction for our lives is a struggle as well. I think that our generation also puts pressure on this area of life because we get so caught up in what we are “called” to do. I am sure this is true of all generations and ages, but many different societal movements are gaining momentum, and I think sometimes we feel pressure to jump on the bandwagon of each of those causes. This in turn creates a feeling of  being “called,” and if you aren’t feeling called, then you feel left out or unimportant. A specific example of this from CBU is the pressure that you can only serve God best if you are overseas and/or have a global studies degree. I think it is important for my generation to simply be open and adamant about following Jesus anywhere and serving Him through whatever talents He has given usSome social causes are important– but let’s get involved for the right reasons and let’s not change our majors simply to fit that criteria. Pray for us to have discernment, but mostly pray that we would listen to God and look for the doors he is opening in our lives. Pray that our talents and education would be used specifically for the furthering of His Kingdom and that we would not be afraid to be different and unique in that.


 

Family of 6 portraitSarah

What excites you about being a consistent contributor to GLOW?

Man alive, so many things! I passionately believe that social media is a tool that we’re to use to encourage one another by speaking truth. And I know firsthand what an incredible gift it can be to come across an article or post from a blog like GLOW and have it hit home. Words have such power to uplift and inspire, to change our perspective and spark action. I also simply enjoy words, always have—books, lyrics, movie quotes—and believe God has gifted me with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Writing for GLOW is a tangible way for me to stop neglecting and start using that gift in this season of life. So if just one sentence I throw out into cyberspace can change the trajectory of one person’s day… if it can spur them on to love their people better, to think differently about a hard issue, to understand more clearly Christ’s great love for them… all while I’m having fun using the talents God’s instilled in me? Well then put a fork in me, ’cause I’m done. That excites me for sure.

We’ve seen your first post, but what other types of topics can our readers expect from you? 

Real talk? I’ve got a list going in the “notes” app on my phone entitled “things I could maybe possibly write about if I get the guts and God says ok.” Said list includes some of the following: adoption, puzzle dates, that seminary wife, cussing, postpartum depression, the punching bag, simplifying, network marketing, picking humans, forgiving when you can’t, what I’ve learned gaining 4 kids in 3 years, to own or change your quirks, and heart refrigerator list. I know, I know, such a tease! Now I guess I better put my money where my mouth is and find those guts.

You are very involved in your church, as dorm parents at Southwestern Seminary and a mama to 4. How do you manage to juggle all the responsibilities?

This question made me laugh, because I couldn’t help but picture a literal clown surrounded by a mess of fallen rings, shrugging with her hands up like “I can’t, I can’t even.” That’s the most honest answer I can give you: I can’t juggle it all. Recently I memorized 2 Corinthians 9:8, which says “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” If we could sit down face to face over a gorgeous brunch I could literally talk for hours about all that the Lord has been teaching me through this verse, and I’d encourage you to dissect it for yourself—read the context, grab a commentary, Google the Greek root words with a tool like blb.org (it’s way easier than it sounds!). But the bottom line is that a rich promise lies in these words, that when we give—of our resources, our time, our energy and our hearts—He will abundantly replenish and sustain us. Practically speaking, this means that in this season of giving often and a lot, I am praying all the live long day, constantly talking with God as things come up asking for wisdom on what to do next and the strength with which to do it. I also have an incredible support system including my family, girlfriends, and prayer warriors I can text at any time, and the Lord has been teaching me a lot about community and what the church can and should be… but that is another post for another day!