Reflections of the Northwest: Stewarding the Gospel

It’s been 380 days since I landed in the SEA-TAC airport, anxiously waiting to shed light on a dark abyss that I viewed as the Northwest. I remember watching people in the airport thinking, “How sad; so many people walking around having no idea the hope that is in Jesus. Good thing I’m here, giving up my whole summer to share the gospel…..” Okay so I didn’t quite think those exact things, but two major themes rang out from my heart when I landed in the Northwest.

1. I was burdened and hyper aware of so many people that most likely didn’t place their hope in Jesus; and 2. I assumed that the advancement of the gospel and Jesus’ presence was contingent on me saying yes to the call that Jesus gave me to serve my summer up there. Both motives show how I was misunderstanding the truth of the gospel. Let me explain.

The first motive seems 100% pure and in line with the gospel message. And it was on the surface, but the misunderstanding is clear as you look into my thoughts prior to stepping on that flight. When I looked around a grocery store, a restaurant, a concert, even the DFW airport hours before landing, I wasn’t at all burdened or even aware of how many people surrounding me had no idea of the hope that is in Jesus. I was selfishly holding tight to a treasure that I am simply a steward of, and was wickedly disregarding souls around me in the place that I call home by refusing to share that treasure. I looked them in the eye and said, “I don’t deem you worthy of this treasure” as if I am the judge deciding who can and cannot partake in the stewardship of the gospel. I was once empty-handed, but not forsaken by the Father and was granted the privilege of inheriting salvation and stewardship of Christ’s gospel, and so I must long to share that with anyone and everyone I meet. One of the hardest lessons that I learned in the Northwest was that I cannot choose where and when I live in urgency to share the gospel. My heart should burn at every moment, in every situation to see people saved and that it is not I who holds my tongue when the timing is not right, but the Spirit. I am a steward of the gospel and I am not to reject anyone an opportunity to hold this treasure.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” -2 Corinthians 4:7

The second motive was very evidently not in line with the gospel message because I had a mentality that I was bringing Jesus to the Northwest. In my head, my obedience determined whether or not God was going to move in the lives of these people. Now, I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of walking in obedience as the Lord calls us to do things and go places, but here is the thing: God doesn’t NEED us to be obedient IN ORDER TO move and advance His kingdom. He DESIRES for us to join Him in what He is ALREADY DOING. He wants us to join in so that we can see more of His glory, and be continually sanctified and humbled in our faith. Jesus was in the Northwest well before I got there, and He stayed when I left. The gospel is such a beautiful reminder of the fact that we don’t have to have the burden of working for our salvation, but it’s also a harsh reality that shows us how we cannot take credit for a single element of salvation, including evangelism. We cannot credit ourselves in our own salvation, and we cannot credit ourselves in the salvation of others. For the sake of corny one-liners, there is no “I” in gospel, so there is no place for me to place any burden or credibility on my own shoulders.

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” –Acts 17:24-25

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10

Looking back a year later, I think my real call to the Northwest was for me to be transformed in my thinking. I needed to be humbled and reminded that the salvation of other people does not rest on my shoulders. However, I also needed to be reminded that God has entrusted me with this treasure, and He desires to use me as a broken vessel for His Kingdom, and that I should live burdened for people to know the hope that is Jesus. And the thing is, I didn’t lead anyone to Christ that summer. I had some people that I got to love on and pour into all summer and never was given a direct opportunity to share the full, start to finish gospel of Jesus with. But I was obedient with what the Lord gave me. And I believe that I was changed by my experiences, and I believe that the Lord moved the hearts of those I did come in contact with, and I continually pray that they would know Jesus and that the Spirit would continue sowing seeds into their hearts. I know that the Lord is faithful, and He will not let our work be in vain. All glory and honor be to Christ.

“So take this heart, Lord, I’ll be your vessel

The world to see, Your light in me.” –Hillsong Worship

 

Ode to the Pumpkins

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The countdown happens: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….Happy New Year! It’s 2015! Sayonara 2014, I’m here, my future is bright and I can say goodbye to all that is associated with 2014!…

That’s a nice thought, but how many of you, when the clock struck twelve, still have an empty chair in your house where a family member used to sit?

How many of you have another round of chemo first thing Monday morning?

How many of you have a child who is still going down the wrong path?

For many of us, the clock struck midnight, and our dress turned into rags, our horses to mice, and our carriage was replaced with a battered pumpkin. It’s nice to think that 2015 will be better, but the fact is, some of the pain from 2014 is carrying over into the new year.

For many of us, the clock struck midnight, and our dress turned into rags, our horses to mice, and our carriage was replaced with a battered pumpkin.

New Years has turned into a great effort at optimism for the future, and for many it can be a nice representation of a physical clean slate, but life doesn’t magically switch over just because we enter a new year. There are still rolled over joys, relationships, journeys and pain. And we have to wear our rags and carry our pumpkins home at the end of the night. But the beauty in it all is the promise of the Lord that his mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) meaning that we don’t have to hold out for one day of hope per year in our future. We are given a “living hope” that is Jesus who gives us a reason to be optimistic everyday.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

So for all of you pumpkins out there, who have hardship and pain that has carried over into 2015, my prayer is that this will be a year that is filled with continued healing and further reconciliation in your life where needed, and that you will find yourself being constantly overwhelmed by the Lord’s love, provision, conviction, teaching, and leading as we face those roll overs. And when we do take time to reflect on this year, my hope is that we will be able to use that time to thank God for His faithfulness in all of those joys, relationships, journeys and pains.

So here’s to 2015, it’s not much different from yesterday, but still overflowing with opportunities to grow in Christ and experience Him. May we be as optimistic today as we are on the next NYE. Cheers.

Adulterer to Bride: 24 Steps Back To My Beloved

My name is Jessica Logan, and I am an adulterer. I am on a 24-step journey to recovery, so that I might return to being a faithful bride. The first step is admitting that you have a problem and that you are helpless to fix this problem on your own. So here’s to step 1:

Sunday Night, I was sitting with a girl I have started mentoring, and we were meeting for the first time in a while due to conflicting schedules this summer, so I was prepared to have a lot to listen to and talk through with her, only little did I know, that I would be floored with the reality of my own life. She and I talked through many things that the Lord has been teaching her, things she was still struggling with, and through our conversation, we were led to the topic of SOCIAL NETWORKS. She had talked about how she had found herself consumed with social media, and so naturally I found myself blurting out,

“THEN GET RID OF IT; FOR 24 DAYS.”

She looked at me, stunned, and instantly cried out, “I can’t do that! Social Media is like my life, and I could barely go 10 days without it when I was challenged one time!” I first shot her a look, as if “That is a sheer sign that this needs to happen,” but then I allowed this next sentence blurt out of my mouth so fast that there was no way that I was in control of my mouth at that point, because if my flesh had been, I would have never said these words:

“I WILL DO IT WITH YOU.”

Now, at the time I was saying this, I was thinking two things: the first was how in the heck did I just let those words come out of my mouth!? But the second was Oh, this will be such a cool way to support Annalee. But of course, in my bible study with my co-workers we have on Mondays, we were digging into a passage in James, and the Lord showed me that this challenge was not just for her. We were reading through James 4, the first 12 verses, and in the first section, James begins addressing the behaviors of the people, and how they are acting like the world. He says that they murder[and/or hate] because they don’t get what the want, they fight over what they don’t have, they don’t receive because they don’t ask, or they don’t get what they ask for because their requests are selfish and/or ungodly requests. Then in verse 4, he calls them[us] like they[we] are:

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. | James 4:4

And I threw up in the office because I got punched so hard….

Not really, but pretty close. I get angry at people and fight over what I want or what I think I should have, even if subtly. I don’t get things that I pray for, because the ambitions of my heart for those things is to please myself or to boost my status and bring glory to myself. I am friends with the world, while claiming that I am in love with God.

I am an adulterer.

As part of the church I am Christ’s bride, and I have been unfaithful in my affections and my obedience and my love and praise, and have given them to another. I have let the world steal my eyes from my Beloved, and allow me to dance with sin. For so long, I thought that My Beloved would never know. That I could hide behind my worship and my knowledge and wisdom, and my prayers, and he would never know that I my eyes were set on another. But he knew. He always knew. He could see through my masks, and facade. I have been caught in adultery. But just as Jesus showed the woman caught in adultery grace and forgiveness, this he also has extended to me.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. | James 4:6-8

Jesus states to “go and sin no more”( John 8:11). I must humbly draw near to my Beloved, and cleanse my hands and purify my heart so as to be restored as the precious bride that Christ calls me.

That being said, these next 24 days for me is my journey to restoration as a bride. Each day will be a step back toward my Beloved, and each day as I draw near to Him, He draws near to me, cleansing me of all unrighteousness, of all filth, romancing me and wooing my heart again.

Here’s to recovery, to restoration, and to an unfailing love that is ravishing my heart all over again. Here’s to my Beloved. ❤

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Jesus Hates the Super Bowl

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THE SUPER BOWL IS NOT EVIL, BUT THE SIN THAT HAS BEEN PIGGYBACKED ONTO THIS ANNUAL EVENT IS WHAT JESUS HATES.

Now that I have you fired up and intrigued, I would like to clarify that I am not about to tell you to never watch the Super Bowl or that it is of the devil and that we are sinning if we partake in watching it annually. The Super Bowl has been an American tradition for many years, and it is a source of entertainment that many find enjoyable. The Super Bowl is not evil, but the reality is that the sin that has now been piggybacked onto this annual event causes a reason for Jesus to despise the day completely.

GIRLS BEING OFFERED AS PROSTITUTES CAN BE AS YOUNG AS 7 YEARS OLD.

Many of us have heard about human trafficking through our textbooks, and in the news, and maybe even seeing it firsthand in countries throughout the world through mission trips, and working with non profit organizations. But, just to give a few shocking statistics and study results:

Globally, two children are sold into slavery every minute, 1.2 million a year. 79% of those in slavery are sold into sexual exploitation, half of those being children. Places like India alone have over 15 MILLION women trapped in prostitution among the brothels, and the girls being offered can be as young as 7 YEARS OLD. For those of you that have daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters….that should already light a fire under you. Now I’m not an expert in all of this, but I know that there are MILLIONS of slaves being trafficked around the world, and I would be happy to research more shocking studies and realities for you. But the reality is, it exists, and it’s wrong.

But I want to ask this question: what if YOUR daughter, YOUR sister, YOUR niece, YOUR granddaughter was being targeted to be trafficked, right here in the United States….well newsflash: THEY ARE.

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UP TO 300,000 AMERICANS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE LURED INTO SEX TRAFFICKING EACH YEAR.

Human Trafficking is an over $32 Billion Industry, and it is quickly increasing in all 50 States of America. Up to 300,000 Americans under the age of 18 are lured into sex trafficking each year. In Dallas, TX alone, 1 in 3 children that run away are lured into sex trafficking within the first 48 hours of leaving home. The average entry age in the US stands currently at age 12-13. And mind you, sex trafficking is not gender exclusive. Dallas, TX is also the number one place for sexual exploitation of boys.

People, it’s happening in our own backyard just as much as it is around the world. And human trafficking isn’t a new issue, but with events such as the Super Bowl, it is becoming a higher demand and these events are making it easier for the epidemic to spread. The Super Bowl is flooded with people that don’t even come for the game anymore, but come for the soul purpose of being able to pay for sex with women and children in this industry. The Super Bowl is the number one Demand Hub in the United States for sex trafficking, and Jesus appalls his children to be enslaved. We can all agree that this is WRONG, it’s SIN, and it HAS TO STOP. As believers, we have an obligation and responsibility to be ACTIVELY involved in this fight. James 4:17 puts it blatantly clear by saying,

SO WHOEVER KNOWS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND FAILS TO DO IT, FOR HIM IT IS SIN.

So if we know that this is wrong, and we know that the right thing to do is to help these people that are enslaved, by sitting around twiddling our thumbs in hopes that other people will step up and do the right thing, or by turning our eyes away to the problem and trying to forget it’s not there, or even by trying to justify and saying “I’m not called to fight against Human Trafficking”, you are sinning, and by not doing something about it are supporting and contributing to the trafficking. The reality is you are called. We all are called to fight. Now, that might look different for everyone. Some are called to get involved in a very personal, hands on and tangible way, while others’ calling to the issue is by being educated and educating others on the issue, and/or persistently and continuously praying for this issue. There are ways to be involved even if you feel like you aren’t called to work personally and tangibly with Human Trafficking. Using what gifts you do have, and being faithful to pray and assist when possible is our calling, with all issues and sin battles that are in our world. Our responsibility as believers is to fight for what is right through education, prayer, and hands on participation. I want to encourage you all to be aware of the things happening in our world, in our own backyard, and to be reminded of our calling to be ambassadors of Christ(2 Corinthians 5:20), fighting on behalf of these women and children, boys and girls alike. Educate yourselves, and ask questions! Help others be educated to spread awareness! PRAY! Prayer is a powerful tool given to us to fight against sin. And finally, look for ways that you can tangibly get involved in this fight for life! Together, show these people the hope and future the Lord has promised them!

 

 

 

 

 

Also, to find out more information on the movement to raise awareness for Human Trafficking at the Super Bowl specifically, check out http://dontwatchthebowl.com for more information and ways to get involved with the fight!

Me + You – Me

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“Patiently, He waits for me,

In the midst of my failure, He makes me His prize.

In oceans and overwhelming seas,

He rescues, claims me, saying, “SHE IS MINE.”

Jesus, to my knees I fall,

Unworthy of gazing on Your face.

Prostrate, I surrender all,

And You extend Your unfailing grace.

Move in me, give me a stirring, to pursue Your Kingdom here,

Bestow on me Your Spirit of boldness, and wipe away every fear.

I take up my cross, I die to myself, a broken jar of clay

Unveil to me Your glory, and in my life, have Your way.

And when Satan dares to challenge Your will, remind me of Your love and power,

Give me obedience, courage, protection and thirst for You every hour.”

Why it’s Okay for Girls to Post Pictures of Shirtless Guys

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First of all, I would like to say thank you for taking time to read this blog, especially if you are someone reading with intent to bite my head off for my title.

Second, I want to explain that I am not here to endorse the epidemic of shirtless men on social media thanks to plagues like “mancrushmonday”. I am actually here to identify a double standard in our culture, and it pains me to see how oblivious my Christian sisters are to it.

Half Dressed Girls vs Shirtless Boys

If you are a girl, I know that you have either directly or indirectly voiced your annoyance and disgust of guys who post pictures of half dressed girls in skimpy bikinis to talk about how “hot” they are. It’s degrading to women, portraying us as sex objects, and gives guys a chance to look at girls in a lustful way. I don’t know about you, but I usually associate the word “pig” with ones that do this. Because of this mentality, you typically do not see respectable guys posting these pictures, because they have been in a sense, “called out” on this action.

But what about the countless pictures that clog my news feeds of shirtless men as girls’ “Mancrush Monday” or “Celebrity Crushes”? I am amazed to see how many girls I know that will post these pictures and refer to how “sexy” a guy is, or talk of how much they are drooling over this guy’s abs. Now, call me crazy, but that seems to me to be the equivalent of what girls get offended by guys over.

There has been created a double standard in our society, when it comes to guy and girl turn ons.

When guys are eager to watch movies like Transformers because of Megan Fox starring in it, or UT cheerleaders in Man of the House, or beautiful young women in Sucker Punch, American Pie and countless others, we roll our eyes and wonder why guys want to feed their lustful desires with these kinds of movies. Don’t they know that they are only making it harder on themselves to resist the temptation to sin and further degrade women?

Yet, so many women, and surprisingly many Christian women boasted about going to the midnight premiere of Magic Mike and bent over backwards to get their hands on a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. And no one says a thing about it.

Well I am saying something about it. It’s WRONG. And I am not trying to point fingers and say that if you are guilty of any of these things that you are going to burn in hell, but I am not going to sweep it under the rug like society has done. The reality here is that it is lust, and just like when a guy goes to those movies or posts a pic of a girl in a bikini, it tempts the flesh to engage in lustful desires towards that person. And lust isn’t only a male problem.

There seems to be a misconception that women don’t struggle with lust, but that is a lie. All humans have a sinful flesh, and so women in effect are tempted and fall into the temptation of lust. In fact, I would venture to say that over 50% of women struggle with lust in various forms, yet they either don’t talk about it, or they justify it because it’s a book, or because it’s not truly porn, just a movie about a male prostitute. It may not be as big or as common of a struggle all the time for women as it seems to be for men, but it can be, and it still is sin all the same. That being said, we are held to the same standard in the Lord’s eyes, which means we should be called out on this and should work to put a stop to it.

That’s why I am here to proclaim that this double standard should be broken, because whether male or female, as Christians we are called to a higher standard than the world, living not of our flesh, but by the Spirit. Ladies, we need to recognize that the Lord has called us to respect our brothers, just as He calls our brothers to respect us. Do not fall into this double standardized society the world has created for women.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;” | Genesis 3:15a

Remember that enmity, meaning deep hatred has been created between women and Satan, and he is going to especially try to use every opportunity to deceive us in a way that will lead us to the path of destruction, and to pull us away from the Father. He lives to destroy the beautiful promises that the Lord has given us, so my prayer is that we can rise above this epidemic in our society, and love and respect our brothers as we are called to do.

“Though You Slay Me” (featuring John Piper)

Found this song on my News feed about five times today. I know The Lord wanted me to hear it. And for those of you in suffering, pain or loss, let The Lord pierce your heart with these words and bring peace.