Giving Thanks for Grounds4Faith

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8

From Caleb,

In the States, it’s almost time for the Thanksgiving holiday. With that in mind, I want to give praise and thanksgiving back to the Lord. HE IS SO GOOD!

For a long time, I planned on going overseas to a country I had been praying over for a couple of years. I thought it would finally be my time to go overseas to the country I longed to be in. It was around May of 2018, I opened my email, ecstatic to read one I had recently received from the missionary I had been in contact with; unfortunately, my excitement quickly dissipated.

They said that they wouldn’t be able to have me in December like we had planned earlier that year. I was crushed. I hit my knees in prayer, asking that the Lord would use my time here in the United States for his glory since it clearly wasn’t my time to go.

Since then, I have seen the Lord do mighty things. Christ has allowed me to publish my first book, begin drafting a second book, and start Grounds4Faith and its many other aspects. Not to mention, I have been able to have countless gospel conversations with people because of the reach of Grounds4Faith.

All along the way, Christ has constantly encouraged me through the people around me. I want to be honest with you all, when the ministry first began, I was concerned about numbers of every: how many of “this” did we have, how much of “that” did we do, how many people were there, how many “views” did we get, how many likes do we have?

The numbers used to greatly concern me, and I used to base our success off of that. Time and time again, when numbers looked “bad” to my prideful human eyes, God would send someone along to redirect my focus by showing me how he had been working around me. After numerous times of this happening, I stopped thinking about the numbers, and I asked the Lord to open my eyes up to all the things he’s doing around me.

It has been so liberating to see all that he is doing and how he is moving. God isn’t concerned about the numbers I generate, he’s concerned about me being faithful. The Lord has blessed me significantly through everyone around me that has continually encouraged me through God’s word. God is on the move all around, and I am thankful that he chooses unworthy people, like me, to be a part of his amazing plan. 

Everything that has happened and continues to go on through Grounds4Faith is all the Lord’s doing. To him, all thanks is due. May all the glory honor and praise be to Christ Jesus. Amen.

Give thanks back to the Lord in all things. Being thankful to God is not just a once or twice a year thing, it’s an everyday thing.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

~ Psalm 100:1-5

Who are you to call Homosexuality a sin?

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point
has become accountable for all of it.”

~ James 2:10

From Caleb,

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been baffled when it comes to talking about homosexuality with someone who shared a different opinion from what you would consider truth.

…And everybody’s hands went up!

So, as Christians, how are we supposed to respond to this topic? We know God says no, but why does he say it’s wrong? Why is it sin? Who are you to say that it is sin?

“That’s intolerant. hateful, and just wrong.” These are all questions you have heard, had asked to you, or statements you have heard someone else that you know say.

We can’t let this be a topic that paralyzes us as believers.

We need to say something about it to a world that is lost and dying. I am going to share with you a conversation I had with someone, and I want you to learn from it. I had this conversation shortly after posting a video to my Instagram promoting the book Is God anti-Gay? by Sam Alberry.

What you’re seeing is not the entire conversation, but it is the short ending of the conversation. In all, the conversation was too long to include in a blog post.

As Christians, our first response should be one of love and compassion. Too many times, I find myself apologizing to people for their past experiences people have had with other so called “Christians” that only bring hate and condemnation onto these people. It is not our job to condemn anyone, but rather, to love all people.

I ended our long conversation with an important distinction, one that we forget about. Here is part of our conversation:

Asker: Are you anti-gay?
Me: What do you mean by “anti-gay”?
Asker: Do you believe gay people are confused and lost their way?
Me: I’m sorry for asking so many questions for what seems to be a simple question. I just want to make sure that I answer directly the question you are intending to ask. What do you mean by “confused and lost their path”? Do you mean do I think it’s a sin?
Asker: You’re fine. Yes. In layman’s terms, yes.
Me: The act of practicing homosexuality, or any sexual sin for that matter, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual, outside of marriage is a sin. God’s word is clear about that. But with that said, all sexual sin is equal, all sin is equal. So to me and God, it doesn’t really matter if you’re homosexual or heterosexual, these things are still sins. It’s fallen desire, just like lust for any person, those are the very things that God calls us to lay aside and be most satisfied in him. Now, that doesn’t change the fact that I still love all those people! And I’m gonna treat them the same regardless! Whether you’re committing sexual sin as a homosexual or your committing sexual sin as a heterosexual. It’s all sin before God, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re supposed to love all people.
Asker: Thank you for your honesty and thorough response.
Me: Absolutely! I’m always happy to talk about it more with you.

What is shown above is simply a way to OPEN a conversation on homosexuality. This is merely a scratch, hardly a dent in this conversation. There are more sides of Homosexuality and the conversation based around sexuality that I would love to address, but for now, this is it!

Remember, friends, love is our first response!

 

The Woman at the Window

From Caleb,

For those of you that don’t know, I work in the fast food industry. It’s awesome! I genuinely love where I work, and I love the people I get to work with; they’re just absolutely a blast, even when you’re having a bad day. But that has all together nothing to do with what I’m talking about! It is merely the setting for what I’m telling you today.

At my restaurant, there is a position called “window”. While you work the window, all you have to do is make sure the right person gets the right food and then pays for it. It’s quite simple, but it can be quite fast pace sometimes just like everything at the restaurant. Which is perfect, I love fast; however, you are constantly reaching out of the window and back in to the window. Needless to say, it’s not my most favorite position so I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that I was working 7 hours straight on window.

Little did I know, the Lord would wreck that mindset. I prayed before I began to work that the Lord would allow me to make an impact on those around me right where I am. When you pray for opportunities like that, he will deliver.

One of the cool things about “window” though is that you seriously get the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people in one shift! When I say hundreds, I mean hundreds.

When I work window, I generally get into a “rhythm” where I have people in-and-out as fast as possible; however, with the next car pulling up to the window, my rhythm was broken.

I looked to the driver’s seat and began repeating the guest’s order back to them. When I looked into the car window, I saw a woman, quiet, timid, and with puffy eyes; it was apparent that she had been crying recently. Instantly, my heart broke for this woman. Then I looked to the back seat since all the windows in the vehicle were down. In the back seat there was a young girl that gave the same appearance as the woman up front.

I didn’t know what had been going on in their lives, but I started speaking encouragement to them through the drive through window. I then asked the woman if I could pray for her and her daughter. She said yes, so I leaned out the window and prayed for her then she drove off.

The Lord then convicted me. I had been disappointed to be working the position I was that day because I forgot that God has a purpose for everything that happens. I forgot that I had been sent to work that day.

I say all this to you to remind you that we have a purpose everywhere we go, and unless we are focused on Christ and eternity through it all, we will miss an opportunity to share the light of Jesus. Take advantage of every opportunity that the Lord has graciously set before you!

Bridging the Gap Between His Desires and Mine

“If you abide in me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

John 15:7

From Carly,

Hey guys! I’m just going to jump right into what the Lord has been teaching me these past couple of weeks. Speaking to all of the high school seniors out there, you could say I’m a little stressed and overwhelmed right now. School just started up and I’m already studying for tests, new work hours are crazy, sports practices are demanding and time-consuming, and on top of all of that, we have college applications, essays, scholarships, and DECISIONS to make extremely soon. Did I mention SOON?

As you can imagine, this summer I was starting to think about my future plans and what the Lord has for me and my life. As a young kid, I’ve always known what I wanted to do. However, recently I’ve felt like those plans could, perhaps, be rooted in my own selfish desires. I’m not saying that they are foolish or sinful. I’m simply realizing that I’ve never asked whether this was the Lord’s plan for my life. He could want something completely different for me.

Something my dad always told me when I would ask questions about this was that the Lord will give me the desires of my heart, so there really is no reason to question my interests. He gave me those specific desires for a purpose. Now, whether or not those are to be used for my life purpose or not is another question altogether.

A mentor of mine recently gave me an inspiring word of encouragement that I still treasure in my heart today. She encouraged me to simply ask the Lord for His heart. I know it sounds kind of funny, but this is what she meant by it: Ask the Lord to unify your hearts, which in turn, unifies your desires. 

Ever since I started asking the Lord for this, He has been more than faithful to confirm that what I’m doing is in accordance with His will and His word. Any faith-based book or study that I’ve read in the past few weeks has mentioned this very request. I’ve read countless letters and book chapters that talk about the Lord redirecting my desires and redefining victory in my life (which was actually by another one of my mentors).

God wants me to desire what brings Him pleasure, what He has planned for me, what’s in His very heart. This doesn’t mean that all of my energy and faithfulness should be spent seeking His will for my life. Absolutely not. Seeking the Lord instead of, exclusively, His plan, is what will bring me closer to aligning my heart with His. The next step is yet to come, but you can be certain that your desire is from Him, simply because it is His!

Doesn’t it just blow you away that the Maker of the universe craves intimacy with us? Like, He actually hungers to know our hearts and for us to know His! Just ask Him for His heart, He’s already sacrificed all of it for you! I encourage you to be open with Him. Ask for the desires of His heart to be the desires of your heart. What He wants for you will be what you also want, maybe you just don’t realize it yet. He will align your plans with His. There’s no greater opinion. There’s no greater option.

If you’ve been patiently waiting for His hand to move in your life, for a revelation to confirm your future, all you have to do is reach out. He’s standing here, arms wide open, allowing you to hold tight so that he can capture your heart.

He’s just waiting for you to accept what He so graciously offers to each and every one of us.

Like David fervently pleads in Psalm 139:23-24,

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Lord would you carefully fuse our hearts together by the power of your steady hand? See to it that there may be no distinction between the two. What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours. Would you place the perfect and wonderful cravings of your heart into mine?

Amen.

Time’s almost up.

“Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,”

~ Job 14:5

From Caleb,
        I have been very burdened lately.
        Not with work or school starting up, but with this simple fact: this year is my last year in high school, ever.
        For the last three years, my high school has been my daily mission field, but in just about 9 months it will cease to be. I have been continually burdened my that fact. Leaving a mission field and knowing that I will never have the same daily interactions with the people I am with right now.
        I so desperately want to see all my classmates come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. So many times I question myself saying, “Have I done enough? Have I said all I could say?”.
        This is something that spurs me on to take advantage of every single opportunity that the Lord gives me to speak the words of God to someone I come in contact with. With that being said, I understand that not everyone will be  receptive to what I say, that’s just the reality of it all, but one thing it doesn’t change is my character or how I love them. Those two things are paramount. It is all about planting that seed, the more times a person hears the truth of Jesus and the Gospel, it is one step closer to them actually receiving Christ!
        No matter how much I want to make sure that I always “get it right” during my last year on my given mission field, I know I will fail. Duh, I’m human; however, I will always do my best to remain intentional with what I am doing, I hope you do the same!
        That’s my challenge to you! I don’t care if you’re a junior, sophomore, freshman, or even still in middle school; realize that time flies by so you need to take advantage of every single opportunity the Lord puts before you! Time’s almost up. Use what the Lord has graciously given to you all to his glory.