Category Archives: Jesus

posts inspired by God speaking to me through a message, book, podcast, or just directly

INFLUENCE: The power or capacity of causing an effect in an intangible or indirect way

Words of wisdom from the Journey Service, 10/15/06, as relayed by Pastor Nelson “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it casts light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  -Matthew 5:14-16

My influence is directly proportional to how I lead myself.

Characteristics of truly influential people:

#1 the Desire to Never Stop Learning: Think about the things in life that you would like to learn more about and never stop learning.

#2 an Encouraging Personality: “Evil words destroy one’s friends” –Proverbs 11:9  “Paul traveled through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” –Acts 20:2

#3 Active in their Areas of Strength: Play to your strengths.  Overcome your weaknesses.  It’s a hard pill to swallow, but “Passion does not always equal strength.”  I guess this means that you have to be open to what strengths God decides to bless you with.  It might not always be what you want.

#4 Dedicated to Serving Others:  Reflective light is always stronger that Projected light.  Projected light has a limit to how much you can shine.  But reflected light comes from a greater source and there is not limit.    “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16

With God As My Witness…NO MORE DRINKING!!!

Okay, so it’s finally happened to me.  It usually happens to people in college, maybe even high school, but usually not this late…but hey, I’ve already embraced the idea that I’m a late bloomer.  But I digress. The point is, on Friday night, I made myself sick to my stomach and made my head pound like it’s never pounded before…with the help of our evil friend…alcohol.  It was ugly… One and a half glasses of wine and three nutcracker shots…my world was spinning, my head was pounding and I could hardly speak.  It took all of the focus that I could muster to simply shake my head up and down when my friend asked “Do you want to go home?”  I hung my head out of his window, willing the nasty concoctions to come back up and out of my system.  “Throw up, throw up!” I kept wishing.  I think that I vaguely remember a cab driver in the next lane egging me on…at a red light…that’s New York.  Well, finally, I got some up…and down the outside of his car.  oops. What a night.  I’ve never gotten this sick.  I’ve never felt so scared for my life.  I seriously felt like I was going to end up in a hospital.  Thankfully, my world righted itself after a few hours of sleep and a few more hours of just being really, really mellow.  I think that I experienced my first hangover.  It was horrible…just disgusting and gluttonous and pointless and painful and harmful and dangerous and every bad adjective that you can imagine. Which brings me to my new resolution.  I hereby declare that I am fasting from drinking.  Now, believe me, I am no alcoholic.  If anything, I drink the least out of any of my drinking friends.  Just a glass of wine and perhaps one more is a night out for me.  I am a lightweight, in the figurative sense of the word and everyone knows it.  But, you know what?  I’m thinking to myself now, why even bother with those one or two drinks?  Why tease yourself?  Why even crack open that door?  Here is my reasoning: -I work in the fitness industry and every trainer or serious athlete or fitness competitor that I have spoken to swears up and down that alcohol is a direct nemesis to getting fit.  It undoes all that hard work.  It’s empty calories.  It interferes with one’s performance. -I am a woman’s woman.  I care about how women are perceived and believe that we have to work harder to gain respect and even then, that respect is fragile.   And I have just been turned on to the idea that men view women who are drinking to get drunk in a very particular way.  This is what goes through a man’s head: “Oh, alright, she’s drinkin’ to get drunk; she wants to have a good time; she doesn’t want to have to worry about being responsible; she doesn’t want to have to remember what happens tonight; she’s lookin’ for a lil’ action.”  Men see these women as an easy target and they will answer that call.  Do we really want to portray ourselves like that? -As a Christian, I also KNOW that drinking to the point of drunkeness is WRONG.  I knew it, know it and am ashamed of it.  There is no excuse for knowingly sinning.  God cannot speak to me when I am drunk.  I am not responsible when I am drunk.  I lack judgement when I am drunk.  To put it simply, I am placing myself in a situation of temptation…knowingly.  Ahhhh…Jeanette…what am I going to do with you?  This is what God is saying.  He is shaking his head in disappointment, his heart is breaking and he is fearing for my safety.  He is asking himself, “Why is Jeanette jeopardizing all that I have blessed her with for a few laughs and fly-by good times.  Why would she be so careless with her life, her health and my image?” I truly apologize to God and everyone who has had the misfortune of seeing this.  It won’t happen again.  If anyone wants to join me in this pact, let’s do it.  Let’s see who can unravel themselves from this vice and be a free and fun person out of our own accord!   I dare you!

Just Walk Across the Room

The Journey’s sermon series right now is titled “Just Walk Across the Room.”  In short, step outside of your comfort zone and help someone, reach out to someone, take a moment to connect with someone because that’s what life is about. Everyone can take advantage of this advice.  But moreover, as a Christian, God is tapping on our shoulders, whispering in our ears, all the time.  We just sometimes choose to brush it off, attribute it to coincidence or allow the moment to pass.  But we have to stop doing that.  It’s our responsibility to listen for these moments and open ourselves up to it and say to God, “My life is yours to use, God.  Please use me however you need to.”  That’s when the miracles take place. -An open door is any opportunity that I have to share my faith.  And God is always giving me open doors. -Open door living is the path to spiritual growth:  Now this point was so well illustrated by Pastor Nelson today.  Think about this.  A lot of Christians believe that the point of Christianity is to learn as much as they can and retain that knowledge.  That’s great.  But we’re also supposed to give it away.   Otherwise, we’re at church the next time, asking  God to “fill us up,” only to have God say back, “I can’t, you’re filled up already.”  It’s only when we give some of that faith away that God can fill us to overflowing once again.  And that’s the cycle.  Learn, grow, give it away and then just keep getting filled over and over again by God.  People think it’s about knowing…it’s also about giving. -Smaller doors lead to larger doors:  Think about all the times that a simple “hi” or even a smile has led to a conversation, a connection and heck, maybe even a relationship!  But you have to take that first step to open that door to see if there is a bigger door beyond.  Maybe there won’t be, but you have to try.  If not this time, then in time.  But you have to keep opening doors in order to know. -Doors open when I pray, “Use me.“:  This is the mantra for Christians everywhere.  We’re God’s children and have been assigned to bear his likeness and carry out his Word.  All he needs is our open hearts. “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.” -Acts 20:24

A NEW YOU FOR A NEW YEAR

So, I’m sitting here, with a glass of leftover new year’s wine, worried just slightly about the safety of white wine that hasn’t been kept refrigerated.  In any case, as I sip on this first day of 2006, it’s time for me to look forward to 2006.  At church, over pancakes (which was very cool, I might add), pastor Nelson spoke to us about how to go about resolving this year.  A brief synopsis:

ASSUME  complete responsibility for my life “Each person must be responsible for himself.” -Galatians 6:5 “The lazy man is full of excuses” -Proverbs 22:13 BELIEVE that I can change “There is nothing I cannot master with the help of Christ who gives me strength” -Philippians 4:13 CLARIFY what I really want “We can choose the sounds we want to listen to; we can choose the taste we want in food, and we should choose to follow what is right.  But first of all we must define…what is good.”  -Job34:3-4 One of our greatest freedoms is the freedom of choice.  It’s essential to make up our minds as to “what’s important in my life…what really matters to us …what’s God’s plan for me?” and plan accordingly.  If you aim for nothing, you’re sure to hit it every time.  Focus is important:  It may not necessarily be wrong; it just may not be necessary. DON’T wait to beginIf you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”  -Ecclesiastes 11:4 One of the popular excuses nowadays is “when things settle down. Things will never “settle down.”  Do it now, there are never going to be ideal circumstances.  Don’t wait.  Learn to do what you need to do in the midst of unsettlement. NOW, in forming your 2006 personal development goals, remember that they should all be believable, energizing, specific and timed.  To make it even more focused, there are four types of growth that you should seek: INTELLECTUAL:  “What do I want to learn over this next year?” PHYSICAL:  “What will improve my health?” SPRITUAL:  “What will deepen my connection with God?” SOCIAL:  “What will be my ministry to others?” These are great guidelines with which to look ahead with…use ’em!

WHAT IS FAITH

“…Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” -Hebrews 11:1. Since reading this verse in church yesterday and reflecting back on my friends and co-workers and people that I’ve spoken to just in the past week, it seems that we can all use a “bit ‘o faith.” There is always that nagging question of “what our purpose is,” or “what the purpose of life is.” It’s inevitable…believe you me, I know from firsthand experience! But, God’s instructions are to give it up to him and let Him do the driving while we sit there as a trusting passenger. We can put our seat belts on, but we must trust. We have to push away all doubts and simply believe that He is in control and will not lay any more on us than we can handle. More to remind myself than to tell you, yesterday in church, we learned about Active Faith and Giving it Away. Because what is the use of my faith if I simply keep it all to myself? So, my mission every day now is to literally ask God to “Use me.” The next step is to “Cultivate divine opportunities.” By making the most of every opportunity, God will open up our eyes to opportunities, many of which are right in front of us!” He will show us how we can serve Him and be a living example of faith. In seizing and cultivating opportunities, we must look at things through God’s eyes. We must make the most of every chance to serve others, show God’s love and share God’s plan. So, let’s put this in modern-day terms. “…Suppose you see a brother or sister who is in need of clothing or food, and you say,’Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well’ but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do…it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all. -It is dead and useless.” -James 2:15-17 Take this information and TAKE ACTION EVERYDAY! An action a day keeps your spirit healthy!” Every day, before hitting the bed, make sure that you’ve done at least one thing to actively express your faith. Not to show-off, but to share it. Pray for someone, clean up something to beautify the city, act out on the good deeds you have running around in your head…do what God would do…look at things through God’s eyes. =)

APPROVAL ADDICTION

These thoughts excerpted and derived from “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” by John Ortberg: We have all suffer from it…the need to feel accepted and loved and…living in bondage to what others think of us. Symptoms: -Getting hurt by what others say about us, when we hear something less than stellar -Comparing ourselves to others people, if we find ourselves being competitive, even in ordinary situations -Living with a nagging sense that we aren’t important enough or special enough -Trying to impress important people -Thinking that someone might think less of us if they knew we were an approval addict The Cure: Living Freely With Our Critics – a life of freedom! Consider this verse: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself…It is the Lord who judges me” Paul had no ties to what others’ thought of him. It still mattered, but not too much, it couldn’t rock his boat. His sense of well-being rested on acceptance from a higher court. When you’re in your twenties, you live to please other people. When you’re in your thirties, you get tired of trying to please others, so you get miffed with them for making you worry about it. When you’re in your forties, you realize nobody was thinking about you anyway! Remember this the next time you find yourself slipping into envy/ approval addiction Do not despise your place, your gifts, or your voice; for you cannot have another’s, and it would not fulfill you if you could. AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION; Being addicted to approval and not allowing other people’s approval or disapproval to contaminate our lives, is not the same as having a healthy appreciation for praise. Affirmation and encouragement are good things. COMPARISON: Approval addicts usually compare themselves/ their accomplishments against others DECEPTION: If we are approval addicts, our concern for what others think about us inevitably leads us to shade the truth. We’ve all done it: we’re late for an appointment and instinctively feel the need to offer a story that would excuse us…when the truth is simply that it was our own fault. Next time, try simply apologizing without offering some lame excuse. it’s call “imposter phenomenon”: We know that the truth about ourselves and the image we project are incongruent, and many people go through life with a lurking fear that one day the truth will come out.

facing the future with faith…

Every Sunday with the exception of the one Sunday I was returning from a trip to Chicago and got picked up by an ex-boyfriend who decided to take that opportunity to once again become my boyfriend, resulting in quite a sentimental evening…I have loyally attended the Journey church service!  whew, what a run-on! In any case, the point being that I want to share this past week’s sermon with ya’ll!  It was amazing!  My roommate and I kept staring at each other, mouths agape, as each sentence seemingly spoke to us directly and with such truth!  We were floored and I think I’m going to get a copy of the sermon and attach it next week for ya’ll! So, here’s a quick synopsis to tide ya over for the time being though! BEGIN MY DAY WITH GOD: Pastor Kerrick spoke about statistics stating that the average American spends 13 years in front of the television, 11 years traveling, years eating, years sleeping and so on and so forth. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  -Philippians 4:6-7 Basically, what we spend time doing each morning affects the rest of our day and if we dedicate time to increasing our faith, we will be effectively decreasing our anxiety. INVEST DAILY IN ETERNITY You can’t count on people or circumstances around you, you can only count on your reaction.  If you invest in people, you will reap the results. “The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed”-Proverbs 11:25 The pastor gave a very poignant illustration at this point of how we can, indeed, invest in others.  He had two buckets, each filled with water, one labeled “me” and the other labeled “others.”  This represented how we start each morning, filled with energy, represented in this skit, by the water.  With a ladle, he depicted how many of our days usually unfold.  We probably rush out of the house each morning and rush to work…in this case, just missing our train…in went the ladle, out went a bunch of water (energy).  Then, we  might end up sitting next to a not-so-fragrant fat man…out goes another ladle-full of energy.  Then, we get to work late only to find out that the project we did the night before was done wrong, thus, needing to be re-done…out goes another ladle-full of energy.  We go through a grueling work day and come home to find a sink-full of dishes…another ladle-full!  By the end of the night, we come home with an almost-empty bucket and whoever we come home to is probably not much better off.   What do we automatically do?  Reach into each other’s buckets and try to suck the water/energy from the other person for ourselves. This will basically never work…the only way to add to our own is to add to others…the rest will take care of itself.  So, to rewind a bit and apply that principle, when we come home from horrible day to face the sinkful of dishes, we don’t yell at the other person, we unselfishly do it.  As a result, God will fill our bucket back to overflowing! ENJOY A LIFETIME OF BENEFITS: We need to learn to not hold on so tightly to all of God’s blessings, but rather pour our lives out to Christ and others.  Just pour it out and trust that God will take care of us!  Then, effectively, we will be replacing fear with faith and worry with peace. “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” -Matthew 6:32b-33 I know that this synopsis does not do the message any justice…it’s a bit choppy and vague, but I will have the actual sermon next week.  What I got out of it, however, was that we just basically need to give freely, selflessly and with faith that by doing so, we will actually gain so exponentially that it would be more than we could ever do on our own…because it is only, only through God. I think of all the times when I try do things of my own accord, by my schedule and according to my own timeline.  I’m a busybody and hate wasting time, so “pouring my life out” does not usually fall into the priority list.  But as I really think about it, as busy as I might be and as much as try to do on my own, I hardly make a dent.  So, now I wonder, what if?  What if I just put everything in God’s hands…let him lead the way and call the shots and mold my path.  I just need to do my job right once he let’s me know what it is.  What a relieving realization!  We should all try it  =)

livin’ forgiven…

Today in church, Pastor Kerrick Thomas closed up the “Forgiveness, the real F word” sermon series with how it is to live in forgiveness: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” John 1:9 When I’m Forgiven, God replaces -my doubt with security We often don’t trust in God, we might doubt that the job he is telling us to take is not for us because it pays less…we doubt that God will take care of us. -my guilt with peace How often do we feel guilt /shame for something in our past and let that prevent us from moving forward? -my grudges with freedom -my regret with hope regret is for things that we can no longer help or change, so it really is useless to regret. Regret also ties in with guilt and also keeps us back “if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, oh what a party we’d have!” This was Pastor Kerrick’s way of saying that if’s and but’s are pointless! -my fear with courage When you really look at all these things that we might live with: doubt, guilt, grudges, regret, and fear…it’s not a way to live! God can really take all of those things away!  And all it takes is for us to ask him and let him! Isn’t that amazing? Then, instead, we can be filled with security, peace, freedom, hope, and courage. Now, that’s the way to live! =)