Accountability

I’ve realized that I collect a lot of Voice Memos on my iPhone. I like being able to record sermons from church in case any of my friends miss it and also so I can re-listen to messages or playback areas I wasn’t quick enough to take notes on.

One of the downsides to recording everything is that I’ve amassed so many that I’ve gotten a little lazy with the whole, taking notes from them, part.

During Colour I purchased a new notebook, even though I have a lot, and last month I got to thinking. I can use this book as an accountability tool to make sure that I am going through all my recordings and taking out the best notes from them.

What’s something you can do today to keep yourself accountable?

7 Months Ago

I wrote these verses down 7 months ago and they have been in my drafts since then. Well today is this little draft’s lucky day:

When I took an Evening College course through my church I learned that the purpose of 1 and 2 Chronicles is to retell the past to inspire hope in the present.

I could just sit under that alone. Couldn’t you.

Sometimes we need to remember the past, and how we survived events in our life so that we can look to the present and future with hope.

If God was good then, He will be good now. Amen?

Below were the two verses I was thinking about 7 months ago:

1 Chronicles 10 (MSG)

13-14 Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to God. He didn’t obey God’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to God for help, God took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

1 Chronicles 16(MSG)

That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.

8-19 Thank God! Call out his Name!
    Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
    Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
    God-seekers, be jubilant!
Study God and his strength,
    seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
    the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.
Seed of Israel his servant!
    Children of Jacob, his first choice!
He is God, our God;
    wherever you go you come on his judgments and decisions.
He keeps his commitments across thousands
    of generations, the covenant he commanded,
The same one he made with Abraham,
    the very one he swore to Isaac;
He posted it in big block letters to Jacob,
    this eternal covenant with Israel:
“I give you the land of Canaan,
    this is your inheritance;
Even though you’re not much to look at,
    a few straggling strangers.”

20-22 They wandered from country to country,
    camped out in one kingdom after another;
But he didn’t let anyone push them around,
    he stood up for them against bully-kings:
“Don’t you dare touch my anointed ones,
    don’t lay a hand on my prophets.”

23-27 Sing to God, everyone and everything!
    Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
    his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
    No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
    but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
    strength and joy fill his place.

28-29 Shout Bravo! to God, families of the peoples,
    in awe of the Glory, in awe of the Strength: Bravo!
Shout Bravo! to his famous Name,
    lift high an offering and enter his presence!
Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness!

30-33 God is serious business, take him seriously;
    he’s put the earth in place and it’s not moving.
So let Heaven rejoice, let Earth be jubilant,
    and pass the word among the nations, “God reigns!”
Let Ocean, all teeming with life, bellow,
    let Field and all its creatures shake the rafters;
Then the trees in the forest will add their applause
    to all who are pleased and present before God
    —he’s on his way to set things right!

34-36 Give thanks to God—he is good
    and his love never quits.
Say, “Save us, Savior God,
    round us up and get us out of these godless places,
So we can give thanks to your holy Name,
    and bask in your life of praise.”
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Then everybody said, “Yes! Amen!” and “Praise God!”

The takeaways I got, and was also challenged by were:

  • Because he didn’t go to God for help
  • inaugurated regular worship of praise to God
  • Remember all the wonders he performed

 

Sometimes I can forget what God has done. Not in a serious way, but just like, life gets busy. I never want to forget. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I don’t want to forget all that God has done for me, or feel deceived into thinking God does great things for others and I’m not his favorite.

You’re setting yourself up for a fall if you get into this way of thinking, trust me, I’ve been there.

Instead we need to always regularly worship and praise God no matter the season, remember all the wonders that he performed. If we don’t do this we risk turning to other things for our success. The first passage warns me that because he (Saul) didn’t go to God for help he forfeited what was rightfully his. Maybe I’m wrong but it sounds like God was blessing him with the kingdom, and instead of trusting God and what God gave him, God trusted someone else with it.

I never want that to happen to me.

God isn’t evil. But God wants you to be a good steward of your gifts and leadership. He doesn’t want you to wander around in the wilderness complaining about God and wanting to return to the garbage life you had before.

Let’s remember it’s all about him. And it will never stop being about him. Lest we forget.

Jesscbnyc Announcement

Hey guys,

I’ve been keeping a secret since November and now it’s official! I will be contributing content for Horacio Printing !!!

For those of you who might now know, Horacio Printing makes awesome planners that help you organize your life. Sometimes life can deteriorate your plans and dreams and this planner is crucial to make sure that you are cultivating the calling and dreams in your life.

The good news is I will be blogging here and there so nothing is changing. Feel free to subscribe or keep an eye on on the Horacio Blog here.

horacio

 

Also the planner has been such a huge success that the 2016 version has already sold out!!! But I have some news. There will be a limited re-release of planners for those who missed out on the first run.

Simply go to this link and enter the promo code “preorder” for a 20% off savings!

xoxo,

Jess

Winter School

I had the privilege of attending Winter School at Hillsong NYC last week and have tons of great notes and thoughts from Robert and Amanda Ferguson who teach out in Sydney Australia.

One of the things I didn’t account for was on the final night, Robert Ferguson calling on the Holy Spirit.

Now you’re either thinking one of two things:

  1. It’s church, isn’t the Holy Spirit always there?
  2. Oh here we go, this is a charismatic, Assemblies of God thing.

Now let’s be real here. As a Christian I think I’m fairly good when it comes to the Holy Spirit. I like when the Holy Spirit is happy inside of me even when I want to feel sorry for myself some days. I like when the Holy Spirit helps me recall good verses in the Bible at random. I like the Holy Spirit how I like coffee..I’m not a big drinker but I appreciate it every now and then.

When it comes to the Holy Spirit though, for me, it’s really easy to get freaked out.

I feel like I told this story before, so if you have heard it bear with me. I don’t remember how old I was. Younger than 3rd grade I would guess, so about 7 or 8 at the oldest. And I remember that my aunt and uncle were in town visiting. At the time my parents were separated and I remember sitting on the couch in the living room with them, while my mom ran an errand or was outside for some reason. And I remember them trying very hard to teach me how to speak in tongues. I remember as a small child being really confused and almost embarrassed that this was happening. I didn’t get what was happening and I felt like I was disappointing my aunt and uncle somehow by not being able to speak how they spoke.

So that’s my first memory.

Fast forward to about four or five years ago, when I had my next really odd experience with what I still can’t be sure was the Holy Spirit at a gathering outside of my church. I remember being in a dark place, feeling depressed, and raising my hand for prayer. Long story short, I felt this really weird hot dripping egg yoke falling all over my body from my shoulders where strangers’ hands were laid on me to my toes. Once it was over I felt like my entire body was on fire, and sick to my stomach. So sick in fact that I had to leave the gathering before the sermon even started and proceeded to spew my insides all the way to the station where I thought I would be able to take the bus home.

Yay?

So needless to say I still have a hard time with “the Spirit” and “tongues” and all that.

I simultaneously want God to do His thing with the Spirit and am actually scared of what that will feel like.

So I’m at Winter School and Robert is closing the final night in prayer and he prays for the Holy Spirit to come and basically descend on us.

Now it might seem odd to you since hey, I’m a Christian so I should be okay with this, but I start to get sweaty and panicky. I start to think am I going to spew everywhere once it comes? Will I just start babbling? Will I be slain in the Spirit like they show on TV?

Haha. Anyone else?

I recorded both days in the sermon so I don’t remember at what point it hit me, but all of a sudden. Boom.

I kid you not it felt like someone shot me in the heart with a paintball pellet. Like actually it felt like I was hit with something but then it dispersed. Like it cracked open once it hit me. Like a snowball that whacks you in the chest for a second but then falls apart and spreads out.

I don’t know what that means.

It’s not like I started speaking another language or anything at all. I just sort of paused, expecting something weird to happen, but nothing did. Except the feeling that the Holy Spirit punched me in the heart.

I look forward to kind of, figuring out what all of this means in my life. Do you guys have any interesting stories? Am I the only one that is still sort of….anxious about this whole thing? If not, be of good cheer, I’m still sort of bashful about this whole thing too.

 

The Life I See

As I was drifting off to bed last night after a long work day I had two thoughts:

 

  1. I’m missing my #100daycreativechallenge post
  2. I’m feeling delusionally inspired to write a mini manifesto for the life I want

 

I’m equally tired and delirious tonight but not only do I want to write my life manifesto but I also owe myself and the creative challenge a post for today.

 

So here’s what I will write for The Life I see:

I see a life that is filled with laughter and purpose

I see a life that contains a family fully focused on Jesus and His kingdom

I see a life with a family of sons and daughters

I see a life with a  family of adopted sons and daughters

I see a life of writing adventures inspired by God’s faithfulness

I see a life that includes people who are not included

I see a life that is filled with unexpected generosity

I see a life that has a home where anyone is welcome to stay

I see a life that contains travel and conferences and speaking engagements

I see a life that is ever focused on drawing closer to God

I see a life that never forgets its purpose

 

Closer Than You Know

The other day I was on my commute to work and I noticed some solar panels on the roof of someone’s home. I thought, does that even work in the winter?

You know what I mean?

Winter can be depressing. Trees are bare. The air is cold. It’s even harder to get out of your warm blankets in the morning. And, it seems as though the sun itself is hiding.

The winter sky looks grey. It always seems cloudy. It’s almost never bright and sunny.

Naturally, being the Google fanatic that I am, I decided to look it up. Would these panels actually get any energy at all? I was thrilled by the article I found here.

This line really caught my eye: “It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere and we’re at our closest point to the Sun. Closest? Yes, you read that right. Closest.”

That smacked me in the face.

I’m in a good season. It might be winter in season, but in my soul it is summer.

Hallelujah for that.

I love my job, I love my church, I love some fun things that are developing in my life. But I’ve been in the “sunless” seasons too. I’ve been in winter.

This article encouraged me because it pointed to a universal fact that while it might be winter in our lives we are actually at our closest to the Son. How cool is that? I truly believe everything points to the nature of God and this was just a simple reminder of that.

As the temperatures continue to drop and winter is in full force, I hope I can remember as I look out the window that it might look cloudy and grey but the Son is still shining just as bright.

The light is closer than you know.

My Heart’s Playlist

Last week or so I was thinking about music. Like, as a teenager if I was emo I would list to sad music. If I was happy I would listen to pop music. If I was angry I would listen to rock music.

I still love certain music, but it is not my heart’s playlist. If that makes sense.

I commute about an hour to and from work on the bus and that is my time to listen to a Hillsong album. I love my church and I love their music and I can usually listen to a whole album or most of it twice a day.

I was thinking a bit about my favorite songs on the album and I thought it might be a fun exercise to look into why my Spirit is enjoying these three songs. Because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and instructs and encourages us it might be a cool way to see what God might be talking to you about.

  1. Transfiguration
  2. Here with you
  3. Pursue

So to kick off I love Transfiguration. Taya Smith sings like how I imagine I can sing in my dreams. Like literally I sing in my dreams sometimes and I’m like wow Jesus are you going to drop this mega vocal gift on me one day or is this how you actually hear me singing with your heavenly earbuds on? Ha. Am I right?

Transfiguration is beautiful. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjeE1wzLfjI

I love the idea of a burning heart. Sometimes your heart swells and you feel warm when you are happy and worshipping and I love the way the lyrics express that. It reminds me of my journey over the past few years. So many times you can go through darkness and trial and feel like your entire existence and faith is questionable as a result. But God is more real and lovely to me than ever. I want to ever be in awe of Him. The definition if you Google “transfigured” is: transform into something more beautiful or elevated. That’s obviously in reference most obviously in God being made flesh in the person of Jesus but it also speaks to our lives and how we through Jesus are changed but changing still.

Here With You is equally beautiful. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsyBCIy-eDk

“I’ll follow you til the day You call me home” is simple, familiar and amazing. I want to be with Jesus. Some days the world is too much and I long for Heaven. This song reminds me that I was made for that and I will experience eternity with my perfect Father in Heaven. I also quite like the line “Heaven is in me”. That’s a powerful visual to remind yourself of.

Pursue is absolutely wow vocally. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNhqdKbTFp4

“Show me what I don’t know, more of You”–is a wonderful prayer. I want more of God. As I have lost things in life I have gotten even closer to God and I value that more than what I lost. I want this song to be my portion and my prayer. I want it to be my future and promise of what is to come:

Open my eyes
Let me see more of your love
More of your love
Here I will wait
Just for a glimpse of you, God
I’ll wait for you, God