Brooke always gives the most perfect gifts. I collect Bibles, and I can't think of anything better for an English nerd who loves to annotate but also to doodle than a JOURNALING BIBLE. Literally the best thing ever. And this morning's message at Oak View was perfect for my first time using it. I almost cried I was so happy. ❤️❤️❤️
Pastor Steve's sermon this morning was ON POINT. I'll admit, I hadn't been to church on a Sunday morning in a while. I was so glad I had my new Bible with me. I've realized over the past few years that there IS a difference between being a Christian and being filled with the Holy Spirit, but I had not heard a message so explicit on this topic. Everything was so great. I was frantically jotting down notes and quotes.
Obviously you can read my notes (that I will eventually color with the pretty pencils Brooke gave me), but I do want to touch on some points real quick.
Stephen, the first-ever Christian martyr, was a guy we should all strive to be like. I can't say this enough - it is NOT ENOUGH to be a Christian. Being a Christian will get YOU to Heaven, but it will not get others to Heaven. Allowing yourself to be filled with the Holy Spirit (praying ceaselessly, reading your Bible, serving and genuinely caring about others, wanting to constantly grow in the Lord and learn more about Him...) will set you apart from everyone else in the world. It will cause others to see that you have something different in you - that you are not like the world or even other Christians.
THAT is what will make others want to be saved. They will want what you have - what makes you so joyful and different.
I teach high school and have a teenage sister and work with teenagers at church, so I'm decently up on the lingo, and I know that when people (mostly teens) say #GOALS, it means that they really admire something and want to emulate it. So I wrote #GOALS by Stephen in the Bible because that's who I want to be like. I want people to look at me and see that I am not only different from the world, but different from other Christians.
I was like "Heck yeah, that's me!"
Gah I'm so prideful.
JESUS WAS HUMBLE, BETH. BE LIKE JESUS.
So then Steve said that this is NOT SO THAT THE WORLD WILL SEE US, BUT THAT THE WORLD WILL SEE CHRIST IN US. BECAUSE OF US!
And I know that.
Once again, I was reminded that I have a huge pride issue that I have to keep control of, and I have to constantly remind myself of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Hillsong United -
"Your will above all else, my purpose remains -
the art of losing myself in bringing You praise."
A true SPIRIT-FILLED Christian must be so in love with Christ that their own identity pales in comparison to their representation of the Savior.
(( Are people more interested in my outfits or the God I serve?
What do I want them to see when they see me?? ))
Steve said that in this world, you cannot stand firm unless you are Spirit-filled. If you don't love Scripture and have the desire to read it and memorize it, it is very hard to live for God in a world that generally does not love Him.
My prayer is that the Lord will continue to convict me and that I will listen to Him prayerfully and humbly serve Him and others, and that the world will see me as different - that they will see Christ in me and that I will be so wrapped up in Him that I lose my own self.
More on this later! I love it.