Why We Need the Church| By Emily Lawson

This world is all about identity.

“Don’t put a label on me, but if you refer to me incorrectly, I’ll be upset.”

Everyone wants to be there own person – unique in their own way.

And while I think we should never try to conform to be someone else, God does not call us to be a singular person!

He calls us “the flock”. We are a peculiar “people”.

Yes, each of us is seen individually in His eyes, but if we go out on our own, we do not have the protection of the united front with all His children!

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14‭-‬20 (KJV)

You are a leg, and I am an arm. Without each other, we are not going to get very far.

The church is such an important part of our Christian walk. It is about the fellowship that we gain, the support system that comes with it, and the cheerleaders rooting for us. These all allow us to walk confidently among those of the world.

The church helps us to grow, when we learn from the preacher who is lead by the Holy Spirit. It helps lift us up when surrounded by prayer warriors, and it helps keep us connected to His people by allowing us to pray for others!

At my church, our covenant ends by saying that when we feel led to find a new church that we will seek a new church as soon as possible to be able to carry out “the principles of God’s word.”

This is such an important point to remember, because sitting out on one church service can seem simple. With your second missed service, you feel guilt, but you have that excuse ready. By the third and fourth, you do not feel AS bad. It is a slippery slope.

If we stick with God’s teachings and choose to be in His presence and with His people, we grow, and it becomes easier to hear His calling for our life.

So, where are you finding your identity? Is it in your style? Is it in your job? Your label of mom/dad?

What if you seek to find your identity within the church? Within the community God has placed around us to keep us strong?

God gives us a community so that they can lift us up to find our personal calling in His kingdom. The world around us only wants to drag us further and further away from Him.

This “Me” focused world is not, and cannot be, a “God” focused world!

Be the peculiar people. Stand out from the world and stand strong with the Kingdom!

Endure to the End| By Jasmine Beard

How do you wait?

Do you wait patiently with a smile on your face dreaming of your promise to come to pass, or do you pout, fuss, and complain about it?

Most of the time, I believe I am considerably good at waiting.

Other times, I find myself getting tired of waiting, tired of enduring through a season that seems prolonged for a reason unbeknownst to me.

There is an old cliche that says, “Anything worth pursuing takes time.”

This is mostly true to everyone’s life. After all, it takes everyone time to grow up, time to get their dream career, time to have children, time to be able to traveI the world. 

But when is our waiting enough?

Waiting is not so bad until it turns from time passing by, to trial after trial, and difficulty after difficulty. Waiting can become a test of endurance and willpower instead of just lazily staying put or delaying action.

Life is full of ups, downs, and many curveballs in the physical and spiritual realm.

I recently started taking workout classes a few mornings a week.

I workout pretty regularly, but let me tell you, it is nothing in comparison to the high intensity interval training I am doing in these classes in addition to the early wake-up call.

During this class, we focus on building strength in our physical bodies with an emphasis on our spirits, minds, and souls as well.

This may seem weird to you, but our bodies house the Holy Spirit. We are His dwelling place, and He desires for us to be healthy and strong in all areas of His temple..

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

On the first day of class, the word “endurance” and the scripture Hebrews 12:2 were written on the white board in the front of the room.

Before entering class that first day, I felt tired of waiting for certain transitions to take place in my life. I knew it was not quite time to take a leap of faith into the next chapter in my life but remaining still seemed impossible.

When I saw that word endurance on that white board, I knew I was not to just sit still and delay action, but God was calling me to endure until He gave me the green light to jump into the next phase of my life.

Endurance is the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Throughout every season, I feel as though I have done that. It was not always easy, but I would endure.

However, before I walked into that class that day, I was tired of enduring and believed I had endured long enough. 

Jesus endured the cross for us. He did not stop as the pain progressed. He stayed there pierced, bruised, bleeding, and dying because He knew that being a living sacrifice was to be God’s promise fulfilled to the world.

I am called to endure.

You are called to endure!

Enduring is not easy, but trust that God is building your character, strengthening your weak parts, trimming the fat of your spiritual life, so that you can finish this race well and see the promise waiting for you at the end of the finish line.

“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭(TPT‬‬)

Let’s Be Honest| By Chelsea Verdin

I was always afraid of those “TBH” posts that hit the internet some years ago. Giving someone permission to tell you exactly what they thought of you was not the best idea in my opinion. I would intentionally avoid these posts unless I knew I could get a really good response. My strategy was if I just avoided everyone’s honesty of me, then I could pretend everything in our relationship was okay. I could cover up and hide from all the things that I assumed people thought of me.

And if I am being honest, I would rather avoid honesty than confront every ugly lie that has taken root inside of my heart. Not because I prefer to remain some broken girl, but because honesty is painful. It exposes every single motive inside of my heart and causes me to really challenge myself on issues I would rather bury. It brings up past hurts, present pride, and future fears in ways that make me feel attacked.

Honesty is like eating right. We would all rather eat the cake and feel the regret of all the calories we gained, knowing it is the wrong choice, than to eat our veggies that taste like they are trying to kill us even though it provides nutrients. Honesty is the healthy foods we try to avoid, but all know we need more of it.

Recently, Jesus spoke to my heart about the importance of being honest with myself, Him, and others.

Honesty with ourselves reveals our motives and exposes sin at the root in order for us to begin a healing process.

Honesty with God helps us to enter into worship and prayer with authentic intimacy. Not just obligatory seeking, but pure-hearted hunger because we’ve let Him strip us of our masks.

Honesty with others breaks down walls of perfectionism and allows others to see that we are real humans who are figuring out this journey too.

In Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Uninvited”, she states, “Honesty is a suitor with piercing vision who isn’t swayed by pretending and positioning.”

Honesty is not phased by our charm but is moved by vulnerability.

Ephesians 5:13 (ESV)  says “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)

Lysa goes on to say, “As long as I suspect that honesty’s intention is to expose me and hurt me, it will always feel like a dangerous thing.”

Honesty is a form of light that shines on those areas of darkness that we try to hide from. Honesty calls it as it is. It does not dress it up, but rather it strips it naked. Jesus’s intention was always that we would expose sin and areas that hinder us from walking in His fullness. This way we can address it, make progress to heal it and realign with Him.

This feels painful because we think honesty means looking in a mirror and pointing out every flaw and imperfection we have with the intent of being abandoned, but it really means unwrapping wounds and allowing them to heal so that we can accept the full love of God.

It is easier for me to lie to myself about my motives and the things hindering me than it is to honestly say I need help. It is easier to avoid them and ignore them than to expose what is truly been breaking me. But honesty and vulnerability go hand-in-hand, and when done with the understanding, that honesty is not trying to destroy me, it is actually trying to restore me. I come to realize that honesty is my ally, not my enemy.

Have courage my friends. This is not some overnight fix. It certainly takes lots of practice and dedication to allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart. If you are in a place of excuses or justifications for the things in your life, maybe it is time to get honest. Maybe it is time to reevaluate your priorities so that you can realign yourself with God’s promises. I know that honesty helps get us one step closer to His perfect will.

Label Me Not| By Stephanie Cain

Have you ever lost yourself? You travel through life, days flying past like exits on an interstate, and all of a sudden, you realize you need to Google Map how to find you – the real you.

I think everyone has been there at one point or another. We live in a world where everyone wants to fit into these perfect boxes. The thing is, we are not designed like that. Each person is so multifaceted! We are all complex, beautiful, masterpieces handcrafted in God’s image. (Psalm 139:13-16) So we put on labels to help clarify what is in our box.

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Caretaker. Housekeeper. Big. Tall. Short. Sassy. Quiet. Bookish. Athletic. Loud. Friendly. Not-so-friendly. Giving. Driven. Selfish. Professional. Hippy. Glamorous. Natural. Happy. Anxious. Funny. Boring. Weird. Popular. Loner.

By the time we put on all these labels that are meant to help “define us”, we cannot even tell what was in the box to begin with.

I struggle with this SO much! I am a relatively newlywed, new part-time working and part-time stay-at-home mom, and the only child to two wonderful parents who have illnesses and need help. I feel the weight of these labels daily. The pressure to be a great mom, and feeling like if I am not, I might ruin this gift God gave me. Wanting so badly to be a loving wife who keeps her house in order for her husband. Knowing that there is work to be done at my house, but also that my parents’ grass needs to be cut soon. Desiring to be fun and outgoing like other young moms even though you are an introvert. Striving to be skinny so the new cute trends will look good on you. Trying to have a meek, quiet spirit with a mouth that runs faster than a cheetah at times.

In the struggle to live up to these labels, I lose sight of me – the me that God made and saw as good. There is no labels, no hoops, no striving. He sees me, knows me deeply, and loves me unconditionally no matter how many dishes are in my sink.


“Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” -Ephesians 3:17-19 (TPT)

My Facebook friend Leslie, who happens to be an amazing writer, recently posted something that stopped me in my tracks. She said this:

“We need grace to sit in a space and just BE…to remove the titles and responsibilities and roles and embrace the one identity that brings rest to the soul, ‘Child of God.’ We don’t have to strive with that name. We can fully and overwhelmingly just BE. He welcomes it.”

When I read those words, I realized how weighed down I was feeling from trying to be everything for everyone. When in reality, the most important thing I am is a Child of God. Walking in that calling will make everything else fall in line. So if you are where I was, one step away from asking Alexa how to find you, please take a moment to just BE, to remember who the Lord says you are, and to rest in Him.