If you knew me a couple of years back you would have probably seen me as one thing. A basketball player. I mean it was pretty much who I was. My time was all focused at that one avenue and I even put my hopes in it. You know at times I truly miss it. But more than the conditioning, and games, and cool socks. I miss my brothers.
It is so interesting to look back to my freshman year of High School. We had 30 guys who attempted to play basketball! From that time to senior year only 2 guys from my class made it! 2! That is just crazy to me. But, regardless by the time Junior and Senior year came around, I was on a team. Junior year it was me and 11 Seniors. The following year it was me, and not 11 Seniors...
But if you just look at the two teams we had, they were so vastly different. One was full of experience, and unfortunately my Senior year was a "rebuilding year". Both years were so fun though. I believe that sometimes life changes things get altered but we often have the same strengths and play the same position.
As I flipped to Romans 12 this morning I was reminded that we ALL have different gifts and talents that are all for the same purpose, glorifying God. In this book I can just see Paul pumping people up.
On my basketball teams we were all different. Some were fast, some were strong, some could shoot, some couldn't.. I mean at times I think we all look at our weaknesses and forget, "Oh yeah, I am pretty dang good at serving." These gifts that Paul throws out there, are pretty often overlooked..
In basketball I was not quick. Im a tall dude, but I could not get those long legs going. I knew that. I learned it pretty early on. But, you know what I am? I am a smart dude. I knew the game of basketball and I knew the positions to go to before other people would. So to beat my lack of quickness I would get to those spots first.
Just because you're an awful teacher, or you hate giving.. Does not exclude you for displaying your set gifts! We are so different. And that is good! So often in our world we try to blend or try to fit in with other peoples gifts. No No No!
I was a pretty good shooter.. You know I could shoot that orange round thing through the other orange round thing.. But I couldn't do that without someone to pass me the ball, or someone to dribble down the court.. Or without someone making an amazing defensive play on the other end..
My prayer today is that you see your gift.. Or if you don't know, seek God. Ask Him to show you. Maybe ask some trusted people in your life. But, I hope you leave here encouraged. As we all pursue God we need each other. If I am a teacher I need some encouragement, or some kindness. These gifts go together so well.. Want to know why? That is how God designed them..
Get out there! Speak with faith! Serve well! Teach well! Encourage! Give generously! Take your role seriously! Be kind!
Don't forget though.. Even teachers need to be taught. Leaders must be lead. Givers can't always pour out. And encouragers need encouragement too.. All our gifts are needed!
Love you guys!
So yesterday was a really good day! I traveled back home from Denton and then went straight to the high school youth group I help out with. Things were good. I was even wearing one of my favorite pair of pants!! Things were great!
And then came game time. We played dodgeball and I was just running around screaming and dodging. Then came the most athletic move ever, I slid for a ball then jumped up and got someone out. Right after this amazing victory I was then hit straight in the back.... I was out. As I walked off I looked down to brush off my pants.. But my pants had a new hole right across the knee. And I can't even pull it off as a fashionable thing.. These pants are done.
So I walked around the remainder of the night in a shameful and regretful state. My mind raced with... "Man, grow up.. Your dodgeball days are over..", "Why did I have to slide.", "I liked these pants."
I know this may all sound ridiculous but it was distracting. It just reminded me that we have an enemy. Who will use everything he can to distract us and get our eyes off God..
I also believe that at times our lives are a whole lot like ripped pants.
You know I slid and that was the moment. As many times as I replayed it in my head I knew that was the moment of the rip. There are times in our lives where we can look back and see the "rips" in our story. Maybe we slipped up with sexual temptation, with alcohol, or we hurt a friend, or just made decisions that hurt us and others.
We have all been ripped and also ripped others. It is bound to happen. But, we don't have to sit and focus on these moments.
I am a 20 year old man. Pride is a constant fight. Whether I want it or not. So my pants ripped and even though it wasn't in an "embarrassing area", it was still not fun. I could just imagine the laughs and the pointing at my ripped pants. I was shameful.
In life we make choices some good some bad. At times we turn from God and we let the enemy convince us that we can make this decision. Ya know, pants don't usually last. And in the same way we aren't made for this world. At times we choose worldly things to replace or trust in God. After we go after our "fix" we feel shame. We want to hide. Hide or faces. Cover up with fig leaves and hide amongst the trees.
In Genesis, Adam and Eve believe the enemy and turn from their trust in God. I know as I read this I always cringe and hope they don't take the bite. But they do. Every time! It is written and it is how it must be. But after their eyes are opened. They immediately feel shame!! They cover up and run. Can you imagine the fear.. The shame? You know what God does? "But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" (Genesis 3). God called to them. It may just be me.. But I think God knew exactly where they were.
God calls out. Regardless of the rip that they made. He knows they touched the tree and even ate the fruit. He knows they hide and turn from Him. But our loving God makes up the difference and pursues them.
God knows we have fallen. He sees us and it doesn't change His love for us.
We all fall. We have, we are falling, and we will again. In a way.. Isn't it nice that we don't have to be perfect. The pressure is gone. Jesus took on all of our rips and healed them.
Not only did He repair our falls and sins. He made the ultimate rip, and ripped the veil that separated us from God. He made a way for us to be so close to God and to be in communication with Him always.
So if you're walking in shame and guilt right now, I pray that your eyes will be opened to the amazing love and grace that only comes through Jesus. He is calling out to you. He isn't mad. God is not out to get you for your slips. Be open to God and feel the peace wash over you.
If anyone here is feeling down or just stuck please don't hesitate to reach out. You can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Facebook message me. Even call me or shoot me a text if you need prayer or just someone to talk to. (512-971-1166)
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8: 1-2
You are free. Your debt is paid. Go!
There is ALWAYS something going on. We have work, the kids have practices, homework, or just chores around the house. In between that we have conversations and we "must" check Facebook.. Right? As it turns out even our days off of work are filled with errands and things to get done. I have come to realize that as a culture, we are driving ourselves to exhaustion..
I have something to say that you may enjoy.. It is okay to nap.
As I travel and live day to day life I have figured out that my biggest temptations always seem to attack when I am indeed tired. Whether we get irritable and angry when we are tired or become full of lust I want you to know there is a way out.
There comes a time where it is okay to turn off and rest. Go towards the only one who can bring you true refreshing.
We run and run and eventually "run out". I urge you to just reflect and see what you spend your time on.. Is it worth it? Does it bring life into your walk? Recharge in God and continue to seek Him through prayer, community, and His word.
God has brought you here today. Right here. We all are walking through different things but God calls us all to the same thing. Lean in to Him and believe. Faith can move mountains and I believe that same faith can take your addiction to porn, your hate in your heart, it can heal those scars, and it can renew you!
My prayer today is that you can be refreshed, recharged, and renewed only through God. He is the only one who can truly promise these in our lives. So I pray as we walk through life we won't forget to rest. It's a walk not a sprint. God has big things for you, and He can't fully do it if you are exhausted all the time.
"6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7
Don't worry. Pray about everything! And the peace of God, which is better than knowing everything. Will what? That is right, guard your heart and your mind!
I don't know about you.. But I want that. Let's go get it!
"2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:2
I would say just about everyday I get in my car and go for a ride. Most of the time I am heading somewhere whether it be youth group, or a meeting, or simply going to see someone. I drive most days. Okay, so another thing is that when I am driving I am most likely thinking. I think a lot and I believe that is a good thing!
As I drive I think about life and all different types of things. But, today I started to think about my rearview mirrors. I mean we usually glance at these, but we probably never truly acknowledge them. They are so crucial to our driving yet we honestly never consider them.
So what does this mean? Well I don't think I am alone when I say that our pasts come up from time to time. Whether it was a victory, a fall, a funny moment, or just a memory. The person we are right now is because of yesterday. At times our past creeps into our present.. And honestly it sucks!
So mirrors. Our past. And living for Jesus. How do these connect? Well I am glad you asked!! (Most of you can probably already figure out where I am going.. But stick with me.)
What is a mirror for?
Mirrors help us see ourselves, or if they are in our cars they warn us for cars behind us. So they help us see things in different views that we normally wouldn't see. In the car we can look back and see cars coming and if used correctly the mirror should help us avoid a wreck.
That is our past!! We should be able to glance back and see situations or things we have done and apply them to our choices and avoid crashing into the same mistakes down the road.
These awesome tools on our car are a huge help. I drive a 1995 BMW and as awesome as that sounds, this car has... Lets just call it "character". Yeah character. So it has its problems and all that great stuff. About once a year my rear view mirror will decide to jump off my windshield. I will then have to drive with no mirror until I get more super glue. It makes for a different kind of driving experience and it is difficult at times.
Without my mirror to look into I can't see certain approaching cars or things behind me. It takes away a view that I need.
I think at times there are plenty of choices that we would rather forget. We just choose not to acknowledge them or bring them to the light. This can be dangerous. I understand there are things we would like to forget. But to only forget them and take the mirror down can lead to wrecks.
Objects in mirror are closer.
If you actually look at your mirrors on your car they have that warning. Even though we use them to see behind us the view is still distorted. The cars passing are closer and at times it is hard to judge.
Our past will pop into our heads and usually it is something you wish you didn't remember. But I want to encourage you in the fact that it is behind you. Even if it happened ten minutes ago. At times our past creeps up and our enemy tries to bring us down with our past.
My prayer is that if you are here today you can experience the renewing grace that God has in store for you through Jesus. Your past may be dark or it may be awesome! I have no clue where you're coming from today but I want you to know that Jesus is in the business of redeeming. I know at times our past haunts us and I want you to know that objects in the past may seem closer than they appear. But Jesus has already forgiven you and is waiting for you to come to Him.
If you are down. Get up. We aren't tied to sin any longer. Jesus has forgiven us and wants us to experience the true freedom and joy that comes through Him.
"We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." Romans 6:6
We are no longer slaves to sin! Get up and go!
My name is Andrew Berry! I am just living my life chasing after Jesus and trying to point others to Him.