Ever since I walked into our newly finished prayer lounge, one of the sentences written on the chalk-board wall resonated deep inside me. As I read it, I felt my spirit do a little leap and testify to the words my eyes had just seen. It said: “Waiting does not diminish us. For we are enlarged in the waiting.”
It was like I’d just had confirmation and validation of my own journey and experience all at the same time. I’m sure I’m not the only person here to endure the patience testing game of waiting.
Have you ever noticed what the first documented words of Jesus are?
Check it. Luke 2. Jesus is twelve years old, and we get a whopping two sentences from him until he starts his ministry nearly two decades later.
The family (Joseph & Mary & Jesus & siblings, alongside all the extendeds and countless others) have caravanned to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of the Passover. When the feast ends, they begin their trek back to Nazareth, only this time, “supposing him to be in the group,” they venture a full day’s distance only to realize Jesus isn’t there.Read More
I think one of the greatest reasons we have lost a desire for prayer is because we have lost our access to silence.
I don’t mean just shutting up and not talking; I’m referring to silence as those moments of stillness, moments where we create a space to really listen. We have lost our capacity to be still.Read More
He stopped for me.
Sophie Cruz will most likely be re-telling this story for the rest of her life.
Pope Francis visited the United States recently and was greeted by thousands as his procession made its way around Washington DC.
In one instance, amidst the miles of barricades, very well planned security, and strict protocol, a little immigrant girl with a request broke through the restraints.Read More
Almost weekly, a few of us from ChattHOP go out and prayer walk the streets. Usually we head to Chattanooga's Westside, one of our city's poorest neighborhoods. At a park recently, we met a lady who needed a job, and asked us to pray God would give her one. She got a job two days later and credited our prayers as the reason she got one.
Have you ever been so disappointed that your physical body became sick? Our bodies often tell us the truth, despite our efforts to "pull it together" and just keep going. Scientific research shows that our bodies are so complex and resilient in so many ways, and frail in others...
Hope. The word… we use it all the time, and for so many things. “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” “I hope we don’t have to wait long; I’m hungry.” “I hope we win!” “I hope this recipe turns out.” “I hope I meet the deadline.” “I hope to see you again.” “I hope you never leave.” “I hope they recover from cancer.” “I hope we can pull through this.”
What even is hope? Well, linguistically speaking, it can be a noun or a verb. An expression of emotion driven by anticipation, desire, wishes. Spiritually speaking… ready for it? It’s not just an emotion. It’s a promise.Read More
I’ve recently been pondering this word unity. Why exactly is it that God would declare an everlasting decree of blessing upon this state of living? Why is it that there seems to be a significant lack of it in the church, when it appears to be so incredibly important to the eternal understanding that we are tending to?Read More
This question irks me: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And if that question isn’t bad enough, there’s one that’s even worse: “Why do good things happen to bad people?”
These questions are the worst because they have everything to do with the idea that people “deserve” certain things. Good people deserve good things; bad people deserve bad things. (As if we were good judges of what people deserve?)Read More
My story of being changed by Christ is not, so far as I know, typical.
I know a lot of fantastic people who give a narrative about how Jesus came in and drastically changed their lives overnight. They were addicted, angry, abusive, etc., and then Jesus came in and fixed it—simply a miracle! For these people and what God did in their lives, I really am profoundly grateful. They were saved the nightmare of having to desperately climb their way out of a pit.Read More
She closed the class with these words: “I don’t want you to become bitter or angry. When you think about this brokenness, I want you to realize how big your Jesus is; one day He will undo all of this.”Read More
What’s the plan? Where are we going? Why? What am I working toward?
As human beings, we spend too much time questioning ourselves, God, and the very purpose of our lives. Somewhere in the expectations and plans, we lose our sense of childlike confidence. Life becomes a question mark.Read More
Did you hear? Did you see? Did you know? Death. Murder. Suicide. Divorce. Things are just going to get worse. We’re in a downward spiral. How are our kids going to survive? There is so much darkness. Everything is corrupt. The end is near...
So what does one do when the hottest topic of even the most well-meaning Christians is the doom and darkness closing in?Read More
For many like me, and in our culture, it is rare that we are brought to the end of ourselves, in that place where noone or nothing can help us in times of need. If plan A doesn’t work then B will, and if not Plan B, then there is always C-Z. If our resources run out, somewhere there are more to be found. If our health fails, there is surely some medical solution at hand. If a crisis, there is certainly help within reach.
The tentacles of our soul grasp feverishly at all our usual places of comfort or answers, yet there are none to be found. We panic. What are we to do?Read More
Go hide yourself.
That was God’s word to the prophet Elijah and the short phrase that helped to make meaning of the season I had just entered into, a season that would make prayer as vital as eating. I would love to share a more glamorous entry into this life dependent on abiding prayer, but desperation was my gateway.Read More
It was the middle of the night and I woke up with terrors. Shaking and breathing hard, I checked on my baby girl. She slept peacefully. I shook my head and whispered for God to please come and help me. My way had grown dark, very dark. And it was not because I chose for it to be dark. It seemed that my efforts to live a faithful life before the Lord had let me HERE….
What is there left to say when there is nothing left inside?Read More
There is hope. For all. Society is always telling us that it’s the young people who have so much to live for. It’s the young, the energized, the able, the ones who haven’t made big enough mistakes to ruin their life, the ones who “still have time” to decide what they’re going to do with their life.Read More
Silence: I used to think it was punishment. I used to think that the lack of God’s voice was him “teaching me a lesson” or “whipping me into shape.” Like a rebellious puppy you turn your back to in order to display disapproval, I thought that when God was silent, it meant that there was something I was doing wrong. I can only imagine how much this must have broken God’s heart.Read More
Our faith is described as a fight from start to finish.1 If the trials and tribulations of the Christian life sometimes get to you, or push you to the breaking point, it’s probably because someone is trying to kill you. When we think about the grace we receive for this fight, we generally think about God rescuing us out of all our troubles. To be sure, this belief is NOT wrong; it should be practiced and prayed for. Consider the numerous verses exhorting us to wait for God in this way, allowing Him to fight our battles: “Be still and know that I am God,” and “The LORD will fight for you, and you only have to be still.”2Read More