There is a Bird on Your Head…

NestHead

As a little girl sitting in church several (ok, many) years ago, I really did my best to listen and learn. Much went over my head, but much also stuck. Pastor Goode had so many quips and idioms. They are lodged in my brain and now, 20 years since his death, they still inform my life.  One of my favorites was and continues to be “the one about a bird”. He always said, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair.

Interestingly enough, since then I have seen the same quote attributed to Martin Luther and Ancient Chinese wisdom. Oh well… in my mind it will always have come from my childhood Midwestern pastor.

You see, as a child (and to this day, if I’m not careful) I would obsess over every untrue, unkind, unBiblical thought. I would feel guilty for the initial thought, and then I would enter this vicious cycle of wondering/worrying as to why I even thought it in the first place! You can image the freedom I found in realizing that birds may circle, I have no power over that. But I can control how long they linger. Instead of worrying and watching the skies for danger, I learned to focus my energy on the “nests.” The sinful actions and patterns of behavior that were already forming in real time. The idea of doing battle with what is in front of me, not with what might come.

So fast forward several years: I am finding some victory in this area. I’m working at controlling my thinking. Things are better. In the midst of that however, I began to realize a new habit developing…that of working to control everything. It’s a struggle for me, this illusion of control.  And before I knew it, it was affecting how I viewed my Spiritual growth. “Just control your thoughts, Kelly, that’s the win!” In fact, that’s one of my favorite verses….II Corinthians 10:5 says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…”

Right there! The Bible gave me a command to control! I was supposed to take every thought captive. Control my thinking. Control freaks unite! And don’t misunderstand me, there is much good to be gained by working to control our thinking, but I had missed out on the depth of meaning of the last line of the verse.

“…. to the obedience of Christ.”

And with that, I lose my illusion of control. I shatter the belief that I am sufficient in and of myself to control my thoughts and feelings, and instead I submit those thoughts and feelings “to the obedience of Christ,” the one who IS in control.

So that begs the question… what does that look like?  Capturing a thought and then submitting it to the obedience of Christ…  Though not comprehensive, here is how God has grown me in this area.

First…

Taking captive the thought: Quickly identifying the thought as negative/sinful/untrue/etc. And “quickly” is important. God doesn’t command us to “harbor” the thought; to let it stew and fester and consume our time and energy and joy before we decide what to do about it. Take captive means to seize, arrest, nab, catch. Do it quickly.

and second…

Submit it to the obedience of Christ. Step one takes work  Arresting and seizing a thought is not always easy. But the work doesn’t stop there. The pay off and the true joy and peace come with submission. Submitting that thought to the grid of what you know to be true of Jesus Christ – His person, His character.  His promises. Truths like…

He loves me.

He loves _____________ (person you might be in conflict with).

He is working all things for my good and His glory.

He allows trials to purify and grow me.

He has promised His Spirit to empower me.

He has prepared eternity for me, this life is not everything.

He is sovereign.

He can be trusted.

And the exciting thing is, He is Faithful! He shows up in the middle of our struggle and His Spirit reminds us of all we have in Him. I am so thankful that He is in the business of helping us knock the nests out of our hair…

 

Written by Children’s Director Kelly Curtis

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Telling Your Story

In 2014, my family and I moved from Lafayette, Indiana to Placencia, Belize (just south of Mexico.)  Needless to say, it was a major transition in our lives.  Ours was a story filled with un-answered questions, faith, prayer, and utter dependance on God.  Kelly and I would spend the next 12 months starting up and managing a Glass Bottom Boat tour business and simultaneously launching a house church that grew from a couple of families to over 40 people in just a matter of months.

We got the business up and running just in time for “high season” which starts right around Thanksgiving.  Now, having a group of tourists out on a boat is fun because you have a captive audience…and I love telling stories.  Right after we’d embark on an excursion, one of my favorite things to do was give some background on the boat itself (which my dad had built from the ground up) and also share a bit about how our family ended up in Belize.

Sea n' BelizeHere’s the sad thing, though: I began to realize early on that I would share a certain version of our story.  It was a version that I had adapted in my mind. It was a version that omitted the faith, prayer, and utter dependance on God that I mentioned earlier. Essentially, it was a version of my story…minus God. Needless to say, I became very convicted. “This is ridiculous!” I thought to myself. “Why am I leaving God out of this amazing story?”

My purpose in this post is not to go into all the “why’s” of why we don’t include God in our story.  I think each of us has to self-reflect and figure out the answer on a personal level.  I do hope, however, to give you some practical tips on how to intentionally include God in your story moving forward.

Recently I was having a conversation that centered on the idea that believers need to be sharing their story with those around them. It became clear that there’s a fair amount of confusion surrounding this concept.

You see, everyone has a story. Your neighbor has a story. Your co-workers have a story. And yes…you have a story, too. People love telling stories, and this is what I’ve found after years of working with people…we love telling stories about ourselves (whether we know it or not). You may not realize it, but you are constantly telling a story about yourself. Now, the details you choose to include or omit as you tell that story…that’s what I want to focus on in the next few paragraphs.

I know it can be kind of intimidating, and even confusing when we talk at Mountain View Fellowship about the importance of telling your story (sometimes referred to as “sharing your testimony”). My hope is that I’ll be able to clarify and maybe simplify your approach with a few suggestions.

TBlog QuoteFirst, you have to figure out how God is woven through your life. I tend to think of our stories in terms of a tapestry or piece of fabric. Threads and details of life, relationship, and God… all woven together.  The final product is the cloth…the fabric of our lives. But if you look closely you can see how that fabric was made. All the over and under. All the intersecting points between the individual threads. Where have the threads of God and the threads of You intersected? What has God done for you? Where do you stand in your relationship with Him?  What is he teaching you today, this week, this year? How does He play a role in your day to day actives; in the big and small decisions you’ve made recently; in the blessings, trials, and difficulty that He’s allowed into your life in the distant past or in the here and now? These are all potential intersection points between your life and God. You need to first learn how to look closely…to identify and acknowledge those intersection points so that they can become a part of the real story in your heart and mind. So that they can become part of the fabric of your story.

If you’re struggling with identifying how God is woven through your life, talk with one of your pastors or mentors and allow them to help you think through the questions I’ve asked here.

Once you’ve identified where and how God is woven through your life, the next step becomes a bit more accessible.  It still takes intentionality, but at least you have content to work with.

In my case, I could see clearly all the interaction points of God and my life… I simply needed to start including those details in my story. So from that point forward when I shared with my captive audience on the boat the details of how my family ended up in Belize, I was careful not to exclude God from my story. I use the phrase “careful not to exclude God”  very intentionally. I didn’t preach a sermon. I didn’t share scripture. I didn’t even mention directly that I was a christian (gasp!). I simply was mindful not to exclude God from my story. And that’s my final encouragement to you. Don’t exclude God from your story.

My story ended up including a lot more faith, hope, prayer, and dependance on God than it did before. And you know what, yours can too!  It wasn’t long before people were asking me follow-up questions and I was having really cool conversations with people about my faith journey. Not everyone picked up on or responded to the “God” details that I included in my story, and that’s ok. I believe that as long as we…as long as you continue to identify where you and God intersect, and are then careful not to exclude those details from your story, you’re going to be on the right track.

The Lesson I Wish I Could Teach

About the time I was in middle school, I found that God gave me a talent for story telling and later, public speaking. My parents probably realized the story-telling “gift” as soon as I began to talk… but that’s another blog. When I reached high school, I joined the speech team and had great success in the Creative Story Telling and Impromptu Speaking events. I’ve always had fun communicating complex ideas simply enough for even young children to grasp; it’s an essential part of what I do every week as a youth pastor.

Now that I’m a father, I’m excited to see what areas my daughter will be talented in and what kinds of gifts God has given Evangeline. I know that before too long, I get to be the dad who tells elaborate bedtime stories, teaching her lessons with tales of princesses being rescued by princes who are battling against evil, and a magical, talking ukulele… or something of the sort.IMG_0566

The more I think about the kinds of stories I wish to paint Evangeline’s dreams with, the more I’m amazed by the Bible. I marvel at this book that tells the story of God, his people, and his love for them. It’s an incredible epic, written for us to examine and test how deep God’s love for each of us really is. The further you dig, the more God reveals himself. When we begin to understand who God truly is, the more impressive and breath-taking the sight and thought of his power, love, and grace become.

This summer, I believe God has been showing me more fully the depths of his love for us. It was a recurring theme through both the middle and high school CIY camps as well as in the weekly teaching and studies I’ve been doing, the books I’ve been reading and the teachings I’ve been listening to. Everywhere I turn, I seem to run into the story line of God’s great love for us.

I’ve tried to put into words how much these lessons have impacted me and each attempt feels more feeble than the last. It seems as impossible as standing at the base of Mount Everest and trying to throw a baseball over the summit to someone on the opposite side. No matter how much time I have to prepare, no matter how much I learn, no matter how many words I add to my vocabulary, no matter how much time I have to communicate this message, it will never be enough to describe God’s great love for us.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t stopped me from trying. But honestly, each attempt has been inadequate in light of the truth that has been revealed to me this summer. It’s a little frustrating for someone who claims to be “talented” with his words! However, it’s not an option to say it’s impossible and stop attempting to describe it. For me (and for any of us) not to try would be the greatest tragedy.

Having said all of that, this is what God has been teaching me this summer:
God – The author of life and creator who breathed all that we know and see into existence; the Supreme power in the universe; the Trinity who completes all things; the architect who created a solar system and galaxy that is only a tiny part of a universe that’s so large we’ve only begun to see how much of it we cannot see; the engineer who made our own world so complex that we’ve still not explored large portions of it; the designer who created our bodies so amazingly that science is still trying to copy things that occur naturally within us….

THAT God looked down through every generation that existed before us, into the generation that we were born to, and into every generation that will come after we are gone until the Father himself sends Jesus to reclaim it all; THAT God sees every single person. He knows me. He knows you. He knows every intimate detail of every life down to how many hairs we have on our head at any given moment. And most importantly, He saw, before he breathed life in to existence, Every. Single. Sin. we would EVER commit.

Yes… before we were born he saw every time we would lie, cheat, steal, lust, hate (insert your sin of choice here), and then ask for forgiveness only to go back and repeat the same sins. He saw it all. He felt it all. Every hurt, every heartbreak, every illness, every accident, every disaster, every single death, every single paper cut and pin prick. He was there before we were. And even though He KNEW how much we would hurt Him and each other, He still chose to hand-make us and to plan out our lives. He chose ahead of time, knowing all of that, to sacrifice Himself for us. He chose to love us.

God CHOSE us. He hand picked us to be his saints to all the world. He has faith in us to be a shining light to all those around us. That means that the things we do that are shocking to us, the things that we scratch our head at and say, “Why would I do that?!?” are things that God has already forgiven. The addictions that we keep choosing again and again over Him, he has already forgiven. And not just forgiven, but already carried out the punishment for. On himself. God the Father loves us so completely that regardless of whether or not we accept his sacrifice, he has already made it.

To be 100% clear, we still have to accept that sacrifice, but once we do… we should be so thankful that we devote the rest of our lives to being grateful to God. To worshiping God. To following what he has asked us to do. But when we mess up, when we fall back in to sin, we must show repentance and remember that God has forgiven us. There is nothing too big for God to forgive, because he has ALREADY forgiven it all. All we have to do is simply accept that sacrifice, and try to love Him as completely as he loves us.

The conclusion I’ve drawn is that there are no words I possess that can possibly convey the incredible message of love and grace that exists within the pages of scripture. There are no words that can be strung together in any language to paint an accurate picture. The closest we can come is to open the pages of the Bible and read beyond the words on each page… to see the grace and love dripping from each word as we ourselves are utterly dehydrated, and drink every drop until we are full. Then we can watch as the rooms of our lives become an ocean overflowing in a way that cannot be contained with walls, dams, canyons, or even in hearts if they are empty.

I know that my stories to Evangeline will someday revolve around the grace that drips over me constantly from God the Father. I pray that someday I will find words that do justice to what God has really done for us. And if I ever find a way to teach this so anyone can easily understand it, relate to it, and grasp this impossible-to-grasp idea, you’ll all be the first to know… right after my daughter hears it in a bedtime story.

-Hunter Headley
MVF Youth Pastor

Spiritual Tooth Truth

Teething is no fun.  It’s no fun for parents (and grand parents!) and it stinks for the baby.  I’m watching my seven month old grand daughter go through it.  It hurts, and it’s messy in more ways than one.  I had forgotten how much drool, snot, and poop are part of teething; and everything seems to get leaky: their eyes, nose, mouth… and their diapers.  It’s a pain that affects her in such a way that she doesn’t know what she wants or what will make it better.

Any combination of the following commands are usually expressed through a variety of her whines: 
– Hold me.
– Don’t hold me.  
– Hold me, but only when you’re standing up.
– Let me stand at your feet dangerously close to the coffee table and wipe snot on your leg.
– Give me that thing.  
– Pick me up.
– I hate this thing.  Why did you give it to me?
– I’m going to lead you to believe I’m ready for a nap, while simultaneously planning the fit I’ll throw when you put me in my crib.
– Put me down.
– Massage my gums with your finger, especially that one place where a tiny dagger is poking through; I’ll be biting down shortly and make you wish you’d stepped on a lego instead. 
– Hold me, but only in a way that’s uncomfortable for you.
– Sway gently.  
– Stop swaying.  Bounce.  
– Bounce faster.
– Why are you bouncing so fast?  This isn’t bumper cars!
– Why is there a big wet spot on this shoulder?  Move me to the other shoulder.  
– Hold me while I arch into a backwards swan dive and cry, again, dangerously close to the coffee table.
– Don’t forget I’ll be waking you up at night on the schedule we kept when I was one week old- about every three hours, just so we’re clear. Several nights in a row. 
– Repeat above steps, but in a zombie-like state (for you, of course… I’ll be wide awake) and in total darkness. 

It’s hard to break in a tooth, to go through something new and painful and foreign, but it’s something my grand baby has to go through.  Especially if she wants to eat at In and Out Burger for every meal when we take her on that trip to Disneyland in a few years. It doesn’t help to tell her that there’s a big, juicy reward at the end of this journey… that it’s worth it, that teeth are cool; because it hurts NOW.Evie_FirstTooth_Border

Everyone has to go through painful, difficult things. It’s hard to look forward to the day everything is going to be right again when you’re stuck in the middle of something that hurts.  Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic after a diving accident at the age of 18 wrote, “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.”  A similar sentiment is echoed in James 1:2-4:  Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. (VOICE)

Pain and trials were not what God planned for us at creation, but as humans tend to do, we messed up His perfect plan. It was never his will that we suffer loss, financial trouble, betrayal, grief, sudden or chronic illness, persecution, or any number of hard things we are faced with in our lives. In fact, Romans 8:26 tells us that In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (NIV) I love the way the New Century Version puts it: The Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.

If you’ve ever been so low that you couldn’t even pray, did you know that the Holy Spirit was interceding for you? That Jesus himself was going to the Father for you? What a comforting thought as we deal with those things that force us to wonder if we’ll make it through. That’s where the joy is in difficult circumstances: in knowing that Jesus is right there with us, hurting for us, praying for us, and using the trial to make us look more like Him.  You might be surprised at how he ensures your pain isn’t wasted when he uses it (and you) to help someone else. And you might be surprised at how that eases the ache.

If we trust our Father and persevere, the benefits we’ll receive and the things we’ll learn as we mature will make it worth the pain. But, what does perseverance look like?  It looks like continuing to show up to church on Sundays to worship and learn when you don’t feel you can get out of bed.  It looks like waking up early before work to spend time in the Word and in prayer; these things help you pursue your Up relationship with God.  It also looks like making it to Lifegroup during the week and actually sharing with others what you’re learning and how they can be praying for you… attending on a regular basis builds your In relationships, and these relationships will offer support during tough times.  And it looks like sharing with those who don’t know the Father and don’t understand how you can have peace in the midst of your current circumstances (yep… that’s your Out relationship.)

Our lives will certainly get messy. There may be lots of drool, snot, and poop that we have to deal with along the way, and at times we may not even know what to ask for to make it better.  But we aren’t alone, and there are good things waiting on the other side, whether it’s in this life or the next. As James put it, our faith will blossom under pressure and teach us patience as we endure; we’ll be equipped to deal with whatever trials are thrown our way, and even better, we’ll emerge mature, complete, and wanting nothing.

Glory vs. Comfort

Do you live for God’s glory or your own comfort?

I think my pastor posed that question one time in a sermon. It hangs on my refrigerator but it’s been there so long I honestly can’t remember where it came from.

It hit me after an incident with one of my kiddos and the subsequent conversation about it with another mama, that too many of us live not only for our own comfort, but for our children’s comfort as well. An incident had happened with several of the girls on one of my daughter’s sports teams. And yes, my daughter was one of them. As a parent, we often don’t want to see or acknowledge our kids as sinners. I often pray that my child’s sin will find them out, though. Not because I like dealing with sin, because I don’t, but because I want it to be found out now when hopefully the consequences aren’t that deep or that long-lasting and I can help them navigate through the situation. But honestly, as a mama, I don’t always want to navigate the situation. I don’t always want to know the wrong they’ve done. Most of us don’t want to have the sins of our children reflect negatively upon us either. And we’d like our kids to be comfortable and avoid a lot of strife. I listened to the mom who told me that her prayer that day had been for her daughter NOT to be benched over the incident. There’s that comfort thing creeping up again.

This is a good mama. This is a good family.

And, she had given her daughter sound advice in this situation. She told her daughter to tell the truth and to face the consequences as they came…but her mama prayer was for her daughter’s comfort; that she would be able to play in the final game.

 That morning I had shared a verse with my daughter from Psalms:

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I am by no means saying I am a better mama than my friend. I am not a perfect parent with the perfect answers and the perfect prayers. I am perfectly flawed just like the next person. And my kiddos are no angels either.  I wanted to make sure that she really had a broken and contrite heart because she had done the wrong thing and NOT because she was wanting to avoid being benched.

This was the verse I felt led to share and the lesson that I wanted to impart in this situation. My daughter is usually compassionate and she had already expressed remorse and compassion in this situation, but I wanted to drive the point further as she left that morning to talk with her coach. My prayer was not for her to be comfortable or for either of us to avoid missing this teachable moment. It was for her heart attitude. In a world where we like to blame others, justify our actions, and pretty much suffer no consequences or own up to our actions, I think I may have actually seized the teachable moment in the uncomfortable.

Of course, I would’ve liked comfort rather than having dealt with the situation at all. I would have preferred not to have been embarrassed as a parent or talked about as a family. Yes, I would’ve liked to avoid the uncomfortable, but that’s not really what we’re called to. As believers, as one who wants to be conformed to the likeness of Christ and to bring God glory, sometimes it’s going to be uncomfortable.

I didn’t set out consciously to choose God’s glory and to live for God’s glory in that moment. And maybe that’s the beauty of it. If God is conforming me to the likeness of His Son, the Spirit is working in me. The prayers that I pray about reflecting God’s glory in my daily walk are hopefully becoming more ‘habit’ and who I am, rather than conscious decisions that I make. And maybe, just maybe, these are the parts of my life that will be caught by my children; God’s glory over comfortable.

Written by
MVF Women’s Ministry Director
Jodi Ross

jodi2

Double Trouble

2 Pair Pink BootiesIdentical. Twin. Girls.  I feel like I could end my blog post here and let you all fill in the rest.  You can imagine the lessons and take-aways we have learned over the last 7 years.  And you would probably be right at each imagination.

However a few specific anecdotes come to mind this evening… As toddlers, they would look at their own reflection in the mirror and start to converse with who they thought was their twin sister.  After all, they always talk to someone who… looks exactly like them.  Even as I type this, I’m lost in correct pronoun usage!

Or for example, up until the time they turned 5, they would mis-identify each other in pictures.  Saying, “That’s me!” while pointing to her twin sister.

All the while, still not realizing that they look alike.  Asking VBS teachers in shocked tones “how did you know we were sisters?!”  Or explaining to me that they looked alike because they were both wearing a dress that day.

Having identical twins is an interesting study in “Identity.”  Realizing that an infinite God, created two people so much alike and yet so very different.

In VBS this last week, over 200 children learned that they were “Designed by God, Built for a Purpose.”  I absolutely loved that theme.  It’s one that I have been chewing on and dwelling on.  It not only carries so much hope and promise for our kiddos, but it can inform how we nurture the children in our homes, the children in our churches, the children in our neighborhoods, the children in our schools….

So as summer break is in full swing (and I have WAY more time with the kids), I have been asking myself this question.

How can I raise my kids in such a way that their identity lies in a Creator God who has a grand purpose for their lives?  Big question, I know.  I’m still working through it… but here are few areas I’m focusing on:

  • Not making every request (demand) for obedience being about what “Mom” wants.  Instead pointing them to the bigger blessing of living life God’s way.  🙂
  • Asking my kids more questions, and seeing if they can arrive at the correct answer or correct solution.
  • Figuring out what areas my kids are naturally gifted in, and personally getting excited about those things.
  • Realizing the areas where they struggle, and finding creative ways to encourage them.
  • Asking my kids to identify ways they have seen God at work – maybe through a storm, a sunrise, or an answer to prayer.

These are just a few, but frankly those few are keeping me plenty busy.  I am working through this just like I know many of you are, so please feel free to add to my list!  I would love to hear your ideas too!

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MVF Kid’s Director
Kelly Curtis

Eyes Glazed Over

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting my family and my wife’s family in Houston and introducing them to our four month old daughter, Evangeline. On Sunday we attended church with them (luckily, they all attend the same one) and I was excited to visit their youth area and see what a regular Sunday morning looked like for them.  I look forward to visiting other churches because it’s rare for me not to have responsibilities on a Sunday morning, and it’s also great to glean new ideas to make my own ministry more successful back at home.

BoredMrBeanI was able to take a tour of their youth department and get lots of ideas on things that we might be able to do in our new building. However, one thing that caught my eye was the students and their behavior in Sunday School. Don’t get me wrong… they weren’t bad or disrespectful, and the leader was doing a great job teaching, but the students just seemed… like their minds were somewhere else.  We’ve all seen that glazed-eye look, and have probably sported it ourselves during a message or two on Sunday mornings.  Can I get an amen?  (Sorry, Dad.)

Initially, it didn’t strike me as significant or bother me; after all, it was Sunday morning before noon and they WERE middle and high school students. But the more the I processed it, the more I wondered if our students look at me that way on a regular basis… eyes glazed over and not engaged. Then I thought about how we, as adults, look to the speaker on Sunday mornings because this can’t be a youth-only problem. I know even the best speaker in the world armed with the best lessons, illustrations, and tricks to keep students engaged will still see the “bored face” from time to time. I came to the conclusion that no matter how good the material or the speaker is, it comes down to the individuals who are listening and whether or not they value what’s being taught.

In ministry, it’s easy to see the reality of the battle that Christians face on a daily basis, and it’s a privilege to help people fight it every day. But even pastors are susceptible to that glazed-eye look. It’s so easy to go about our days overwhelmed and forgetting that Christ should be at the center of all things when we have distractions like bills, deadlines, dates, or relationship issues. It’s hard to keep God at the center of our thoughts.  As an adult, it’s easy for me to wrap my mind around the fact that all the different areas of my life are connected to each other: my relationship with God, my job, my family, the Tuesday morning breakfast at Strasburg High School, the baseball game in Bennett, the quick trip to King Soopers. But so many students don’t have a grasp on this concept yet… everything is compartmentalized. School is separate from home which is separate from church which is separate from friends, and so on.

I believe that the American church consistently fails to realize how real God is. I don’t mean to imply that we don’t believe in God, but I would submit that we don’t often think that God takes part in our every day, normal lives. I think this is true for just about every teenager I know. The more I’ve talked to our students and heard what they’re concerned about, what their days look like, and the things that they think, the more I understand that this whole “God thing” is just one part of their lives. Not something that is their life.

Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us about the armor of God. And it doesn’t tell us to sometimes put the armor of God on, or to wear it every other day, or even on Sundays from 9am  to 12:30pm.  No, it tells us that we should put it on so that we maybe ready for the day of evil when it comes, that we might be able to stand our ground. Older believers know that evil can come from any direction at any time and that we should have our armor on at ALL TIMES. It’s how we can hold on to the truth and reality of God and His plan for our lives so we don’t believe the lies of Satan. It’s so much easier to keep on your armor when God is at the center of your life, not just a part of it.

If we don’t live our lives with God at the center, keeping our armor ready, we will become distracted. Slowly, our eyes will glaze over and we’ll become more worried about how we look, what others think, our pay check, our grades, our health, or our family.  And trust me, these are all areas that Satan loves to whisper lies into; areas that can be twisted and made hard and turned in on themselves.Armor of God But if we make sure Christ is the glass that we view every part of our life through, then suddenly, the message on Sunday morning isn’t boring… and even that trip to King Soopers becomes a little more meaningful. The things learned on Sunday at church or Wednesday at Youth Group mean so much more because they touch every part of our lives and strengthen our armor as we learn and grow. Our family is expanded and there is grace. Bills become something we trust God to provide for. Jobs become an entrance point for us to love others. King Soopers becomes a place we can encourage someone we bump into… and so much more!

But the key is keeping God at the center, and using our armor to keep him there.

My challenge for us all, adults and students alike, is to remember that this “God thing” is not just an every-now-and-then or a most-of-the-time thing. But instead, that we realize how critical keeping our eyes on Jesus is, in every area of our lives. If you’re an adult with a teenage son or daughter, I encourage you to help them realize that their relationship with God isn’t something that should be compartmentalized or ignored. Share your wisdom with them, and be compassionate as they discover some of the lessons you’ve already learned, so that they can begin to keep God at the center of their life as well and be ready when the attacks come.

– by Hunter Headley
MVF Youth Pastor
HunterFamily