Let Us Pray For You

Let us pray for you.

The Quarterlife Ultimate #RoadTrip12 continues and we’re in Detroit this weekend. Is this weekend awesome because it is being spent in the mitten? Yes, of course… but there’s something bigger.

Woodside Detroit, a church located in Midtown Detroit, is doing something called Forty. Here’s the info:

[box_light]Forty is an intense season in the life of Woodside Detroit from July 8 – August 17. We will pray 24/7 in a Prayer Room in Detroit, read the Bible cover to cover, and love our community through numerous service projects.

The Forty Prayer Room will be reserved in one hour increments, handled completely online. This is an unbroken chain, so do not sign up for hours that are buffeted by tight deadlines or work obligations. Leave plenty of time on either side of your reservations to cover for someone who gets stuck in traffic, oversleeps, or simply forgets. During your time in the Prayer Room, you will have opportunity to spend time in worship through intercessory prayer, Bible reading, music, and journaling. You will be responsible to read one chapter of the Bible per hour in the Prayer Room aloud, and check off the box that you completed it. This way, we will read the entire Bible aloud in the room, and have notes and highlights in the margins that our community wrote.[/box_light]

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We were in the prayer room last night from 12:00-3:00am and it was pretty ridiculous. God is moving in this warehouse-style building just north of the Dequindre Cut–––he’s here. We’ll be in the prayer room again before all is said and done, so please:

Let us pray for you.

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It can be anything. Big. Small. Giant. Miscellaneous. Life-changing. Spiritual. Worldly. Health-related. Job-related.

Whatever.

Send your prayer requests to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments. Let us be your prayer warriors.

A Change of Pace, Place, and Perspective

The 2012 Quarterlife Ultimate Road Trip is officially underway.

Alex and I are currently on the MegaBus–––a double decker, low-cost express bus service–––riding around the country. The company travels to most major American cities east of Texas and we are hitching a ride. In total, it will be 24 states in 23 days.

Crazy, huh?

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While interning at a church in college, our youth pastor once said this: “Change of pace, plus change of place, equals change in perspective.”

I agree one million percent.

There is power in culture shock.

I grew up in suburban Detroit, Michigan, but my formative years are not like what you’d think. In my area, there were more Starbucks than black people. Case in point: I went to school with two dark-looking Indian girls and the popular black kid in the grade above me was gay––––so he acted like all of us anyway. Upon graduating high school, none of us were experts in anything other than what we knew–––our white selves.

In 2006, I moved down to Palm Beach for college, but things didn’t really improve. Sure, South Florida turned out to be the veritable mixing pot I pictured in my head, but I stayed with what was familiar. Instead of venturing out, I clung to the innards of my predominantly white, private Christian school and associated with the excessive wealth instead of the extravagant poverty.

Sometimes, you need to change of pace.

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If we, the Quarterlife Generation, want to change this culture, we need to see it first.

If we really want to be in tune with what 18-29 year old men and women need, we need to get out there and see them for ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but as a nimble twenty-something, I feel like I am wasting my gift of mobility by sitting in a Starbucks all day creating a magazine. There is so much of the world to see, and nothing but time to do it.

I am fairly blessed. I own a fledging corporation/ministry/magazine; I can travel on a moment’s notice; I’m single. The circumstances are never greater for a trip like this. We are truly free (well… except Alex, who is not single–––sorry ladies).

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So this is the trip.

Meeting people. Praying over people. Loving others. Seeing the country.

It’s time for a change in perspective, twenty-somethings. Are you ready?

[box_help]Sound Off: Tell us your thoughts about the Quarterlife Ultimate Road Trip and tell us if we’re coming to your town! Go here for more information.[/box_help]

Coffee Shop Talk: Engagements, Hearts for Worship, and Loving Others

[box_light]Ed. note: This is B. She’s our weekly Q&A writer and will be answering questions from a female perspective (naturally). You can find her subsection under “Faith.” Do you have a question or comment? Send it to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_light]

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She wants a long engagement, I want a short engagement. Which is better?

I think this all comes down to personal preference and the reasoning behind each. Whether your engagement is long or short it’s really up to you; it’s all about compromise.

Now, for me personally, anything longer than six months is a bit ridiculous. But, that being said, I know I’m a control freak who can plan a party in days–––so I don’t really need all that long to plan a wedding. Really, that’s the only reason I see having a long engagement. Perhaps you propose in June but she wants a June wedding; clearly you’ll have to wait a year (unless you’ve decided that an old man dressed like Elvis at some drive-thru is sufficient… then by all means)! Otherwise, long engagement wins.

Please don’t be that couple who is engaged for years and years. Just get married already or don’t propose!

Once you’ve decided that you liked it so you put a ring on it, [Beyonce is my jam!] you BOTH should be ready to say “I do” that very second. If you’re not, don’t ask! Ladies, don’t say yes! If you’re at a crossroads and are trying to decide what is best for the two of you–––talk over why each of you wants the length of engagement that you do. Talk about the pros and cons of each and then put it to prayer. God will open doors for you to walk through and close those that you need to steer clear from. Be mindful in all things to pray without ceasing. Especially in your marriage. It starts even now with the engagement.

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What helps you prepare your heart for worship?

Prayer.

Life is a mess most of the time. It’s full of joy and heartache all in one fell swoop. I don’t want my worship to be that way. Worship isn’t about me anyway. I think a lot of us get that confused.

We hear things like, “Oh man worship was great tonight! I felt so moved and I felt just on fire. I loved that song!” Or we will hear, “I just couldn’t get into it. The songs were lame, the beat was too slow, did you heart that guy’s voice? Can you say tone deaf?” [I’ll admit now–––I am just as much at fault for saying these things a time or two.] Worship isn’t about any of it. It’s all about God.

It’s our time to stop all that is going on around and in us and just say, “God, You are Faithful. You are Good. You are Holy.” Praying these truths about the character of God and telling Him all of these things is the best way to silence the white noise and just be with Him. It reminds my own heart and mind who I serve and why I even worship in the first place. Worship has nothing to do with my emotions and how I feel. Whether I am heartbroken, overflowing with joy, crippled by grief or crying from complete happiness, God deserves my worship because He is still God and I am not. Praying the whole way to church or even just those few seconds before service starts helps align my heart a little more with His and prepares me to give all I can to Him. He deserves nothing less.

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What do you do when you find it hard to love [or even tolerate] others?

[Ed. note: A certain “B” will be switching out this note for content later. She just plain forgot… so please don’t stone her!]

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Okay, okay! I FINALLY got to a place with internet! [Yes, some places are still in the dark ages–go figure!] Thank you so much for being patient everyone!

I don’t want to sound repetitive, but I pray. I had [and still do have] people in my life that would drive me up a wall and legitimately make my skin crawl when I would see them walk into a room. It went on for years. I felt justified in my anger and my disgust. My own selfish desires were to stay comfortable; let them fall through the cracks in my life because it’s easier to have them there than in my face. Then, as usual, God slapped me upside the head and the Holy Spirit convicted me— hard. He posed the question in my mind and it was something to this affect-

 

“Brittany, are you really going to let this keep you from loving MY child? Is their soul not worth more to you than your own comfortability?” 

 

Oh, God I am so sorry. Who am I before you, Lord, that I would idly stand by watching the ones You love so desperately, never encounter Your love through me? Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to the love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. [paraphrased Luke 10:27] It comes down to those two simple Truths.

 

Love God. Love people. 

 

Pray that God would give you eyes to see the people you find hardest to love as He sees them. Pray for a new heart that feels compassion and grace for those who irritate you. We are all struggling and trying to find our way through this life. We need to come together in the love of Christ and reach out our hands to the broken world around us. Prayer is an essential part to our faith and our daily lives. God wants us to fight for the things of His heart. He is in the business of loving people. We better get on board and start living lives that show we love His people—no matter what. Our love can’t be based on our own comforts and on who we think deserves it. I never deserve the love of God-but I praise Him that His love isn’t conditional. He will ALWAYS love me. I’m called to love the same way.

until our next chat,

B.

[box_success]Send us your questions! You can do so via FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_success]

Coffee Shop Talk: Non-Christian Men, Standing for Truth, and Total Darkness

[box_light]Ed. note: This is B. She’s our weekly Q&A writer and will be answering questions from a female perspective (naturally). You can find her subsection under “Faith.” Do you have a question or comment? Send it to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_light]

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Why do Christian women react to the behaviors of men?

This is a very vague question so I’ll try and hone in on a certain idea to elaborate upon:

I think Christian women react to the behavior of ungodly men because we are “fixers.” We hold men to this ridiculous standard that we set up in our minds [you can thank romantic comedies for these thoughts] that you will all act like the fictional hero we see on screen. The men who always say the right thing at just the right time…

HELLO! It’s scripted!

Yet, there we go again, believing that men will step up and do all these things. We root for the bad guy who draws us in and then hope that we can change him. “He’s different with me.” is the sad excuse we feed our friends and family for why we stay with the jerk. And yet, we are appalled when worldly men don’t change and behave in the exact opposite way we are hoping them to go.

We stick around for the small moments of break through we see; and blind ourselves to the behavior that should be signaling us to RUN!

Christian women fall into the trap of believing that being in relationships with ungodly men is our godly duty to bring them to pray the prayer of salvation. I know this question could be taken so many different ways. I just felt pulled to write a little about this.

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What does it mean to have a generation of men standing for truth?

First, and foremost, I pray continually that this will ring true of the men in our generation.

What does this mean? It means that we would have men stepping up and out for the cause of Christ. Men who threw off the godlessness of the world and all that it tries to tell them to be. We would have men taking the lead in purity. Living in such a way that is truly honorable in a generation that is so lost and far from it. Men who actively seek the heart of the Father over the desires of their flesh are men who stand for Truth. The brothers I have surrounding me, I am so proud to say, are men who stand for truth. They are amazing examples of what this means and looks like.

They are men like Daniel. Drenching themselves in the Word and in prayer. The faith and obedience they have like Abraham. Even when they don’t understand what God is calling them to or even if it requires sacrifice–––they are obedient. Men like Joseph. True visionaries for this Kingdom and all the different avenues God can use our gifts. Men that stand for truth stand for Christ and live lives that reflect Him. Like David, they are men after God’s own heart and His desires for them.

Something I think a generation of men standing for truth will be identified by is courage. More than anything else, it takes courage to stand against the world. Men like Joshua. Young men leading the way into battle and taking a stand for God.

“This is my command–––Be strong and very courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

–Joshua 1:9

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What do you do when you’re far from God?

I absolutely hate those moments in my life.

I look back at the times I let Satan, my selfish desires and laziness slowly pull me further and further from God. Yet, at the very same time these are some of the greatest moments in my walk with Him. My faith and relationship with the Father are deepened and strengthened through the days spent wandering in the desert. I wish I could say that I knew how to pull myself out of the pits when I’m lost and without direction. I sincerely hope and pray that those of you reading this don’t struggle to push through the dark and numb stages of life as difficultly as I do. The moments when I’m far from God I feel like I just want to shut down.

It is actually easier to just stop caring, to stop fighting, and let Satan pull me into the pit and allow my self pity to swallow me whole.

The truths of God and His love are the lighthouse that pull me through the dark.

Even when the last thing I want to do is pray–––or read the Word–––or worship, I make myself. I press in. And I praise the Lord that He is faithful to me even when I am unfaithful to Him. The moments I must completely break His heart by allowing defeat to over take me–––He still comes running when I call. He still carries me when my weak little legs give out. My fickle heart needs His love constantly beating and propelling me forward.

I’m a talker too. Well, generally. Unless I’m very, very, very, upset–––I’ll talk it out with someone. I have a close knit group of brothers and sisters that I can sit down and pour out to. They keep me pointed on Christ and make me see when I’m allowing Satan to blind me and when I’m allowing my selfish desires to keep me from moving forward. I am so blessed by them.

“If we are unfaithful He will remain faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.”

–2 Timothy 2:13

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until our next chat,

B.

[box_success]Send us your questions! You can do so via FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_success]

You Can’t Replace Your Quiet Time

One of my worst “Christian” habits is trying to make deals with God, particularly, when it comes to what many call, “quiet time”. It’s the time when we just set the little things (that seem big within the circumstances of our life) aside for a moment to truly focus on the single most important thing in our lives: our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes in my head, I try to replace that time with other “Christian” things like serving, worshipping and leading small groups. I slip into this deadly works-based type of faith that’s anything but the gospel. When I have that free hour to spend time with him, I justify missing it it by thinking I have already done enough “good things” that day. I do this sometimes several times per week… and then wonder why I feel so out of touch with my savior.

Here’s what I’m trying to get at… personal time with Jesus is irreplaceable.

Corporate worship is awesome; I’m all for it. Bible study is remarkable. Podcasts are fantastic. Serving at my local church is a blessing. All of these things are great, but none of them can replace personal time with our savior. Our personal relationship with Jesus is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. When we miss out on that personal time with Jesus–––and replace it with other things that have to do with Jesus–––we end up knowing about Jesus, but not knowing Jesus.

Sometimes I find myself getting into seasons where I’m obsessed with knowing more about Jesus, and put knowing him to the wayside. ‘Cause lets be honest… it’s a lot easier to read a few books, listen to a few sermons and tune in to a few podcasts then it is to set time aside, be patient, and ease into the presence of God.

There are going to be times when we don’t feel anything in our quiet times, and that’s perfectly normal (Don’t believe me? Read a Psalm or two). But the more we do it, the easier it becomes. I’m not saying the days when we don’t feel anything are going to go away, but we are going to know Jesus because we spend more time with him. The more we enjoy him, the more we value our relationship with him. That’s what walking with Christ is all about.

When we all look back on our walks, the sweetest memories are going to be those personal times when we cried out to him, joyfully thanked him and trusted him knowing he was going to be there for us–––no matter what life brought. Don’t get me wrong: reading, worshipping in song, listening to podcasts and other spiritual things are going to help you appreciate him even more, but if you’re not spending time knowing Jesus, you’re truly missing out.

[box_help]Sound Off: How’s your personal life with Jesus? Do you tend to push him away for easier, more tangible things? Talk to us in the comments, and let us know what you do to get closest to God.[/box_help]

Coffee Shop Talk: Priorities, Spiritual Valleys, and Dreams

[box_light]Ed. note: This is B. She’s our weekly Q&A writer and will be answering questions from a female perspective (naturally). You can find her subsection under “Faith.” Do you have a question or comment? Send it to us on FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_light]

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What are the priorities of a twenty-something Christian woman?

Oh my, oh my. This one stumped me a little bit.

Every individual is different and every twenty-something woman is going to be at different walks in their earthly and spiritual life. Are they actively seeking God’s will? Are they stagnant in their walk? These are two HUGE factors when seeing where priorities lie. So, with that being said, I choose to answer this question based on the women that are in my own life and what I see to be the recurring priorities among us all.

We will be a bit selfish at this stage in the game. Women of this age generally are working a full time job, saving their money for future plans whether that be for travel or a home or car. We make time with our friends and fellowshipping with other women a priority. The women we spend time with may be from our work place, home church, or friends we’ve had forever. We know we need to vent.

Women need other women to listen and give affirming nods that, “Yes, it is truly terrible no one acknowledged ______ about you!” We are working our way through this life as independent, God fearing women and praying we don’t fall on our face in front of you good looking men. We generally make our friends, our job, and our family priorities.

If we are in a relationship then yes, that most likely will take the majority of our time. This is the stage of the game when dating becomes serious and we are NOT looking at just dating the next guy after the next. We are ready for commitment and “The One.” We will make a relationship a priority, but not dating. Casual dating is for chumps.

Twenty-something year old women are in the stage of “preparation.” We are allowing God to shape us and mold us into the women He would desire… to be the women He has designed us to be for our specific calling. He is preparing our hearts and minds for the day we become a wife, a mother. These years of our lives are truly spent waiting on the Lord and preparing for what He has next.

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How do you deal with “the valleys” of life?

Crying ….a lot. No, I’m not saying I have melt downs in public and fall to my knees weeping; but after a long day if you were to see me in my car or in my room, you’re guaranteed water works.

I try and pray and worship my way through it. God has blessed me beyond measure and His joy is something that can’t be stolen from me, even when happiness fades. I may be sorrowful, frustrated or anxious, but I will always have joy in the Lord. I try to either drive in silence or put on worship music and sing [even when I don’t feel like it because God is worthy of worship despite my emotions.] “The valleys” always seem bigger when I’m driving and have time to contemplate them.

Prayer. It helps to pray while I drive. Out loud. I let out all of my fears and doubts and hang ups while always making sure to speak the Truth of the Word and God’s promises and faithfulness. And then that’s when I cry… a lot. I store things up too long inside of my mind, fighting back every tear so that when I finally open the gates the floods come. One solid good cry–––or three or four–––is so helpful.

Friends. The community of believers and brothers and sisters God has put around me helps me so much. Whether they just sit and allow me to ramble on at them (while they nod to show they’re following) or if they are challenging me to press into God more; they’ve got my back. They remind me of the God I love and serve and just how BIG He is and how much He loves me. The true brother/sisterhood I have is key to how God keeps me from losing my mind and crumbling in on myself when life just sucks.

Reflect. Even when I’d rather be allowing my mind to shut off and my emotions to numb out everything around me, which I will be honest, and say both of those things happen but God is gracious; I make myself reflect on all the times before. I look and see all the moments and other “valleys” God has already pulled me through. Is He not that same God today as He was then? YES! That unchanging truth is my sanity when I feel like I’m falling apart.

When the “valleys” come, the best thing to do is to focus my eyes on The One who saved me and saves me each and every day from the “valleys” that try and swallow me whole.

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I will be twenty-eight years old. Mehhhhh. Sorry… I had a small midlife crisis just thinking about that! Anyway, I truly do not know where I will be in five years. I will be wherever God has placed me and called me, but for the sake of this article, I’ll give you my dream answer.

I would see myself married to the man God has brought me to. Furthering The Kingdom side by side through youth ministry, missions, small groups, and community outreach. Reaching the sick and lost for Jesus. Grabbing ahold of high schoolers’ lives and seeing how the Gospel and Jesus transforms them. Taking those changed students and then going and reaching the community. I see myself with one child born, possibly another on the way. [I’m praying for boy-girl-boy, so if you could all pray for that too I’d appreciate it.] I would be planning future mission trips for the high school students (possibly even adults) and connecting with missionaries around the world with us to partner with as a youth group.

In five years, I’ll still most likely be in school. Slowly, but surely, getting my degree in Biblical Studies and perhaps even looking into a Master’s program (GASP!). Along with school, youth ministry, missions, and married life, the big dream I pray to see come to fruition is the prayer room. God laid this vision on my heart almost two years ago. I believe with all the I am it will happen and this will be a HUGE part of my ministry. He has shown me details of the room and what it looks like and how it will run. He has even given me the name for it too!

I will open a prayer room that will be available 24 hours, everyday. My heart’s passion is prayer and fellowship. I long for the days to go into the prayer room and put on a pot of coffee or cook a meal and share it with whoever may be there. Hearing their story. Talking about how their heart breaks. Crying with those who mourn and rejoicing with those full of joy. Praying over people for all kinds of different needs. AHHH!!! My heart races as I type all of this out. To have a place where the youth can come and seek the Lord and I can pray with them (and for them). A quiet place for adults to step away from the demands of their days and find peace in the Lord. I pray that in five years this will come to fruition.

I have big dreams for myself and my future. I know God has even bigger dreams for me. In five years, I see myself living out these dreams and grabbing the vision for the new dreams God will lay ahead of me.

until our next chat,
B.

[box_success]Send us your questions! You can do so via FacebookTwittervia email, or in the comments, and we’ll do our best to have her answer it in future weeks.[/box_success]

Faithful Servants for a Faithful King.

God has been showing me His faithfulness in mass amounts these last few days. Now, don’t let that go to say that He isn’t faithful each and every single second of every day; it’s just these last 120 hours Abba has been flooding me with tangible sights of His faithfulness.

It is overwhelming… to be loved so much by the King. But, as I sat thanking Him for His faithfulness, something caught my attention.

[box_light]Faith-ful: adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, idea, or cause. having or full of faith. worthy of trust or belief; reliable.[/box_light]

Am I faithful to Christ?

I speak of God’s faithfulness and praise Him for this astounding character trait He is full of; but how often am I applying this same trait to my own self? To BE faithful, to be worthy of trust. God simply asks for my love and my trust. Am I really worthy of His?

So often in our journeys with Christ it’s a very one sided type of relationship. I don’t think we mean it to be, but how often are we always applying certain things to God and not ourselves?

I know I personally struggle with self control and trusting Jesus. Each day I have to surrender myself at the foot of the Cross and trust God. I have no reason not to! Because He, and He alone, is truly faithful. And yet, I pray and ask for God to use me as His servant; His hands and feet. I am essentially asking my Father to trust me with my life decisions and the reaching the hearts of His children. Am I even displaying any signs of being worthy of His trust?

Now I know that no matter what I do or choose God is in control of each and every soul–––but I’m saying at the simplest form of it all, I am asking God to trust me to do His work. I’m sorry if this writing is posed with more questions than answers. This whole idea has really been rattling around in my brain recently. I challenge you to step back and examine your own heart. Take a deep look at your own faithfulness to your friends, your family; most importantly dive deep into your faithfulness to God and His call.

I have decided and resolved to live a life after Christ that shows Him I am worthy of trust and belief. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness; it’s time I was faithful unto Christ as He is to me.

Avoiding God With Rap Music

Drake

So I had to drive to Miami for work this week. With traffic, it took two hours just to get down there. Normally, I pace myself with the precious time I have on the road, be it a road trip or my commute to work. I use the term ‘precious’ because there are limited things you can actually do when you drive-regardless of technology. Meaning that even though you can check your Facebook wall on your smart phone while driving, you know that swerving on the road is unacceptable; therefore, technology is off limits. So, it’s back to music, or simple silence.

My initial decision on the road is always music. If you know me well, you know that music and I are BFF (shameless plug: read my blog, ballerballads.blogspot.com). Listening to music in the beginning of a long drive always makes the time pass quicker, and the type of music you choose always sets the mood for the drive. For many of us, it’s the time used to sing at the top of our lungs and believe for a couple of minutes that we’re good at singing. It works for me, at least. Whether it’s an MGMT feel-good tune chosen just to jam out and have fun, or a mellow session with the Counting Crows to reflect and relax, the selection inevitably sets the tone.

For me, the first twenty minutes is usually upbeat. I’ll turn on some band to pump me up, like Foster The People. I usually ease into something more chill like Norah Jones or Ryan Adams once I hit Delray Beach (20 minutes south) since the “pumped up” momentum in the car is not sustainable for me.

But instead I chose Drake. And I chose him on repeat for the entire drive.

I started listening with the intent to indulge for maybe half the drive to Miami, and then turn the music off and talk to God. A lot’s been on my mind lately, and I knew that I was “indulging” by listening to Drake because I knew I was avoiding God.

What started off as a 7-song EP allowance, turned into the repetition and memorization of the song “Best I Ever Had” and a newfound appreciation for the song, “Fear”. I got distracted from my end goal of turning Drake off and talking to God.

In the meantime, I noticed my attitude getting harder. There is a certain attitude I get when I listen to rappers like Drake or Lil Wayne or Eminem or whomever. The truth is, I like it. I feel rebellious, and get an ‘I can do whatever I want” air about me. But that’s not making my spirit terribly susceptible to the Holy Spirit, is it? I love how God works anyway. Even though I avoided him to Miami and back, He waited for me.

The funny thing is that I can avoid all I want, but I am just cheating myself. It’s just like in elementary school when the teacher would say, “Eyes on your own paper. If you cheat, you’re really cheating yourself.” Young kids don’t understand that if they choose to take the easy route, it’s hurting them in the long-run because they aren’t learning and equipping themselves for the future.

How often, as adults, are we cheating ourselves by taking the easy way out, and missing out on the lessons God wants to equip us with for the future?

When I got back from Miami, I felt drained. Had I not been avoiding God, I would have felt differently. I had to go back to work, run errands, and go out with friends that night, but I had a window of time, after work and before going out, to redeem myself. I decided to go for a walk to talk to God before I went out that evening. Of course, I still tried to avoid the Lord by taking my iPhone and earphones and switching my Pandora on, but was instantly sick of music. I yanked out my ear buds, and finally started talking.

Let me just say that every time I finally cave and go to Jesus, everything gets better. My issues haven’t gone away yet, but peace covers me. He gently aligns my spirit to His, and I am reminded that my plans are not His. What’s unfortunate is that I think I associate God with punishment, so I want to avoid Him. But when I turn around from all my running, He speaks so gently that it’s almost comical that I choose to run from Him in the first place. He is so the opposite of the things we fear. Probably because I John 4:18 says, “..Perfect love casts out all fear..”.

When will I finally get it? I hope soon, or I’m gonna own every rap album ever made.

Have You Taken A Break?

All the time you see

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not that men are innocent. Ladies, guys will start texting you and spittin’ game every chance they get, trying to hang out. In the end, this only causes strife and complications in your relationship that is now potentially on the fence. Let’s be real for a minute–––we all get tired of our boyfriend or girlfriend and unfortunately we get to the point where a “break” seems to be the only solution; even in “Christian” relationships. Has God offered a solution to this problem? My girlfriend, Tida and I have taken breaks several times

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because we got frustrated with each other or because we felt we needed to take time to focus more on the Lord. Is it possible this concept of taking a break is actually biblical? Yes, I do believe it is. 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NKJV) says: [box_light]”Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”[/box_light]

While yes, I have taken this verse slightly out of context as it applies to a married couple, the concept is still a healthy one. Try talking with your man or woman introducing the concept and verse. I have found this to be extremely beneficial in my relationship with Tida; it’s perfect. If we get tired of each other or just simply feel like we need our own time with God, we take a break and fast from each other for a short time. During this time we give our extra attention that would normally be spent on each other, to God. Instead of talking on the phone at night for an hour, I’ll dive into the word or get into prayer to replace the time I would’ve invested into Tida. It’s beautiful! We take a short break, go deeper with God and then come together again and share what each other has learned. This can also help improve a stagnant relationship if you’re looking for the next step to grow together with God. Relational fasting has been extremely beneficial to my relationship with my girlfriend and also with God; keeping us in check and making sure we never become complacent. I want to encourage you: if you’re in a relationship, give this a go. It can’t hurt, right? It’s never wrong to invest more time into God and make sure He’s still the focal point of your relationship to begin with. Love ya’ll!

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More in this video: Best Essays

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How to Tell if You’re Dating a Preacher

dating a preacher

There is but one mighty trophy that exists in the brutal competition known as the Christian dating world—that of the young preacher as husband/wife. Wishes have been made, secret séances have been conducted, and felonies have been committed, all in the name of landing a preacher as a spouse. Of this, I am certain.

But how can you tell when that fine young lad or lass you’re interested in has designs on entering the ministry, or is just a good ol’ Christian soul? The subtle nuances can be daunting. Kinda like when Dr. Quinn had to decide if Sully was right for her, or just a good-looking white boy who thought he might just be a Native America (actually…it’s not anything like that, never mind). Regardless, I’ve already started writing and don’t want to stop, so therefore, I present to you, “Cory Copeland’s Guide on How to Tell if You’re Dating a Preacher”:

If they do…take more than two minutes to pray for the meal.
Let’s just be honest here: we’re a hungry people, we Christians; we like our food. And when we pray for our food, it’s usually a mumbled mess of hasty thanks, and then we’re quickly digging in to our bountiful blessings. But the preachers? No, no, no. They’ll eloquently bless the crap out of a meal until all those within earshot can no longer hear the prayer over the growling of their own stomach. There is no debating me here.

If they don’t…mind being asked to say a little something to the congregation at a moment’s notice.
Most of us would rather have our toes gnawed off by Gollum than be called up to the platform without any prior notice. However, a preacher-in-training is always ready to share a quick word from the Lord. Their color-coded-according-to-importance highlighted Bible is perpetually open to that one scripture they’ve had a particularly poignant thought on—even if that same thought has been shared 47 other times before. Preachers are like Henry Rowengartner; they’re always ready to bring the heat.

If they do…quote scriptures in response to every day questions.
You ask: “How’ve you been doing?”
They respond: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, brother”
You’re nodding solemnly right now because you know this happens way too often.

If they don’t…spend less than an hour on their hair.
Preachers have to look good, okay? They’re up in front of groups of people for hours at a time, and for this to be acceptable, they usually feel the need to spend at least 90 minutes in front of the mirror while using three cans of AquaNet hairspray to get that, “Just got a touch from Jesus” glow. It’s their thing, okay? Back off.

If they do…set their Bible in-between you and them while on dates.
Because even if they are holier than you, you can’t be trusted to keep your hands off of them, you hooligan. The Bible softly nestled between you two while you watch Beauty and the Beast should deter you from having any of those silly notions like that hussy Belle did.

This simple little guideline should get you started on the right path toward figuring out if you’re truly dating a wannabe preacher or not. If it doesn’t work, that’s what you get for listening to a guy who religiously watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and cried tears of joy when Sully and the good doctor finally tied the knot (I regret nothing).

 

Cory Copeland writes about God, Life, and Love on his blog at www.MadtoLove.com. You can follow him on the Twitter here. Cory’s dad is a preacher; he is definitely not.