Category Archives: Life

Misrepresented

The author and her husband have two boys and live in India. Through teaching English, she and her family work in an unreached area. Her passion is to see those that have never understood who Jesus is, come to a true understanding of his love and forgiveness!

When I think of the word ‘misrepresented’, I think how much that word is an ESL nightmare, and how difficult of a word that is! There are 3 prefixes and 1 suffix. How is it ever possible to teach an English learner what all that means? Obviously, ESL is my world right now so that’s why my thoughts go there quickly. I know most wouldn’t even think twice about all that!

My friend planted Freedom Church in Lebanon, Indiana 5 years ago. One thing God spoke to my friend is that they were planting this church because he (God) had been misrepresented and they could represent Christ in the right ways.

I appreciate that. First, I appreciate that God has entrusted people that I care about so deeply with something so huge. Second, I agree. I agree that Christ has been misrepresented in many ways. It’s an important part of a non-believers journey to belief to be able to truly understand who Christ is and what he represents. If (more likely when) parts of his character are not understood correctly, then many times it takes quite a while for those things to be ‘discovered’ as untrue and turned into truth.

But, wow, when that truth is made known inside of us…when our heart is softened and our mentality shifts? When Christ makes known His character to us, those are amazing moments.

When our understanding of him lines up more accurately with who he really is, then we can represent him more effectively.

How do we uncover those misrepresentations? How do we get to places where we understand who Christ is in relation to us personally and the rest of the world as a whole?

Discipline.

Now that’s another difficult word, I know. Not necessarily from an ESL standpoint, though! Discipline is what it takes to represent Christ well.

Discipline in our time with God, in our reading of His word so we can better understand the words he left for us.

Discipline in our attitudes and behaviors, in our priorities and discipline to do something about the lostness of our world.

In those moments when we are denying ourselves and exercising his discipline in our lives, that’s when our hearts and minds are open more to him than any other time. Those can be very hard times. Especially if it turns into a long season of discipline. It’s one thing to hold your tongue or develop a good habit of Bible reading. Add to that spending time in his presence. These are all great attributes and excellent disciplines to develop. It’s a whole other thing, when a season of discipline comes into our lives. We have to respond to God continually. This process enables us to who Christ’s character and it may be easier said than done.

Hebrews 12:7 says we are ‘to endure hardship AS discipline’ (NIV). Notice the word ‘as’. At times we skip over that word and read that passage as saying that hardship IS discipline. No. Our hardships are as discipline in our lives. We will be more fully able to represent the heart of Christ because of our discipline through enduring hardships.

“As” and “is”…may be only 1 letter different, yet it makes a tremendous difference in how we approach hardship!

We can move from misrepresenting Christ, in even small ways, to representing him with our best and with all he has for us. As we allow discipline to be more prevalent in our lives, we understand more about Christ and share that with others. That’s what it is really all about anyways, isn’t it? Sharing Christ and bringing others along on the journey.

I am very thankful to have all the SHWAG sisters on this journey together!

written by a SHWAG Sister*


The Beauty of No….

Korista Lewis is a bi-vocational Lead Pastor of Connection Church in Aberdeen WA.  She has been an ordained minister with the AG since 2007 and LOVES the Northwest Ministry Network that she calls home.  She is 33 years old, single, has embraced the runner that lived dormant inside her for so many years and is a HUGE Doctor Who fan!

It’s one of the first words we learn.

It’s one of the first directions God gives to Adam and Eve.

Moses heard it, Joshua lived with it, Jesus said it to Pharisees and Disciples alike.

Maybe you are like me.  Maybe you have found in our world of excess, our world of yes, our world of more, you are constantly trying to keep up with the woman next door or the Pastor down the street.  We so rarely use or hear the word but it is a beautiful word: No.

As women following after our Savior we desire to be people led by the Spirit.  Our hope is that God will daily grow the Fruit of the Spirit in us.  But there is one fruit we don’t like to talk about.  Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  Did you catch that last one?  For many years of my life I did not.  Patience: check!  Love: Most of the time! Joy: YAY! Peace: Thank the Lord he provides it! Kindness…Goodness…Faithfulness….check, check, and check!  Yet, SELF-control; wait God, you want me to exercise some sort of control over myself?  I skimmed right over it while I fed myself a steady diet of quick foods, processed snacks, over spending my money, my time, and my physical body.

Last year God started to wake me up to the excess in my life.  Physically I was extremely overweight. My schedule was jam packed with meetings, assignments, programs that my sluggish body was having trouble keeping up with.  My finances were tight, spent before my paycheck ever arrived.  This is not easy to confess and I do not say it lightly or from a place of having it all figured out.  Yet God started to say one word to me: No.  He started teaching me to say “no” to myself which was much harder than saying no to others.  In ministry I had been taught to create boundaries.  However NO to myself?  REALLY God?  Really?  You want me to deny myself the foods I love, the new pair of shoes, and the 15 meetings a week?

Really?

And He said, “Korista, really!  I want you to live a life that is available to me and you have so overfilled and overstuffed there is not room for me to direct you, to lead you and to surprise you.”

So last February I started saying “no” to myself.  And my life is fuller than ever but in the best, most healthy ways.  I love the way The Message translation expounds on “self control” it says “able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”  All my overspending of time, money and physical health was not marshaling or directing my energy wisely.

My beautiful, courageous sisters, my question is this:

Do you need to say no to yourself today?  Is there a physical issue that would be cared for with a wise “no”?  Is there a relationship that would be healthier if you said “no” to the time you’re spending on it? Do you need to stop comforting yourself by spending constantly on stuff?

My sister, may God give you the motivation and the courage to say no to yourself today, and may His treasure of self control be evident in all areas of your life in the coming days, months, and years!

Cheering for you,

Korista

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Pedestals, Ditches, and Scared Little Girls

Amy Van Pay is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God.  She and her husband are AGUSM Missionaries serving as Chaplains to Triathletes in the area of Boulder, CO.  They have 3 children: Camden-8, Cale-5, and Ainsley-2 months.

Recently, I had a conversation with my mother about my mother-in-law.  She said,  “Every time I see her, her make-up and hair look like it was professionally done.  She always dresses so nicely.  And to be honest, I feel really self-conscious around her.”  Then I began to inform her of why she looks that way; how she is so concerned about her self-image, she can’t help but spend all that time and effort on her appearance.

Isn’t that silly?  Here are two terrific women around the age of 60, longing to be acceptable to the other, oblivious to the fact that they’re not only accepted, they’re put on some kind of pedestal by the other.

Aren’t we all that way a little?  I know in my own life I’ve struggled with this.  I meet someone, make an assessment, and either place them up on a pedestal or throw them in a ditch.  Either they’re a person I feel I have to earn acceptance from, or someone that, well, they’re just a step or two down from me.  It’s not that I don’t like those I put in a ditch.  I just somehow reason that I’ve got this relationship in the bag–nothing to be earned here.  I know.  I’m a jerk.  Maybe you’re one too?

It’s times like these we need to take a few steps back and see ourselves for who we really are much of the time: scared little girls.  Beneath our big deal lives and responsibilities of womanhood, lies a bright-eyed young lady so unsure how she should behave.  By the time she’s put so many on those pedestals, it feels good to put a few in the ditch.  It’s only natural.

Here’s what I’ve observed: it isn’t humility that causes us to hoist others up.  And it isn’t arrogance that makes us put someone down.  In my estimation, there’s one just one little thing in us that’s producing both behaviors: pride.  It’s gotta be.  What else would make us so entirely concerned with ourselves?  When we’re caught up in these so-called assessments, do we ever take the time to consider what we’re doing to that other person?  I’ve been held up high, longing for someone to quit assuming I had all the friends in the world and just care about me for a minute.  I’ve also been thrown to the side, feeling like their relationship with me is some kind of obligation to them.

So, my fellow Smoking Hot (Little Girls) of the A/G, I’d like to propose we all let each other and ourselves off the hook.  Let’s level the playing field and be authentic for a change.  After all, what are we afraid of?  She’s just a scared little girl too.

written by Amy Van Pay

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Gratitude and Generosity

I don’t know if it’s the colors, the smells, the food or the anticipation of things to come, but fall is my favorite time of year. There is something about the crunch of the amber and crimson leaves under my feet, the beautiful golden harvested fields, and the smell of pine infused bonfires that make me feel cozy. So as I snuggle up with my warm, fuzzy socks and a pumpkin spice coffee, I reflect on this season. Continue reading