Finding Joy

Finding Joy

They say, “Opposites attract.” I guess sometimes it is true.

The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (or “Joyful Sunday”) because the waiting is almost over. So much to anticipate! Joy is a word tossed around in Christian circles pretty often because it is something that we are supposed to have. It is bigger than our circumstances. It is bigger than our pain or fear. But how? How is joy possible when we feel the opposite?

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Yearning for Peace

Yearning for Peace

Have you ever been out in the middle of a body of water? You know the type—the waters surrounding you are dark with nothing around for miles and the only thing separating you from the deep, dark water is the boat supporting you. Well, I’ve been on a small motor boat in the middle of the Nile River before and I remember the fear that swallowed me the moment I saw the angry looking crocodiles on the banks. I remember losing my breath for a moment when the crocodiles dove in the water as we approached their territory. My brain immediately began playing out scene after scene of our boat tipping over, everyone coming face to face with these huge crocodiles and losing a few limbs or my life. Needless to say, I had to preach peace to my anxious heart in the middle of the beautiful Nile River, because in that moment, it wasn’t very beautiful, but instead very terrifying.

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Hoping for More

Hoping for More

The Christmas season is upon us—a season with its own dedicated food, music and foliage; a season that sees our calendars filled with events; our houses filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the season; and our hearts filled with Christmas cheer (or dread or anxiety or sadness or some combination of all these things). Basically, Christmas is a very full season. But in this season of “more” (more events, more gifts, etc.) Christians are called to focus on “less.” In the hustle and bustle of this demanding season, Christians are called to slow down and experience the simple gift of Christ.

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It's Time to SHIFT!

As we celebrated our 10th birthday as a church family yesterday, Pastor Dustin challenged us to anticipate our future. What are you anticipating God to do in your life, in our church, in our city, in our world?

Anticipation should bring us to prayer for the future.

This Sunday, we will be kicking off a new series, SHIFT, where we will look at the what Jesus has to say about our priorities—specifically our relationships, time, and money. A major focus of this series will be prayer and fasting. If we are anticipating God to move, we should be hitting our knees in prayer for that future! We’re going to rally together as a church family to pray for the next four Wednesday mornings from 6–7a. We will also be challenging our church to fast on these Wednesdays.

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We hope you’ll join us in prayer and fasting as we look to SHIFT for our future!


Prayer & Fasting Resources

We have several resources on our website available for you to utilize as you consider joining us in this season of prayer and fasting. Check them out using the links below.

Longing for What Is to Come

Longing for What Is to Come

We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt it. The butterflies. The nerves. The excitement. The anxiety of what is to come or what might happen. Anticipation can cause us to feel “all the feels” at times: anxiety, excitement, and joy awaiting the expected arrival of someone or something. However, what are we called to do in the waiting? After all, anticipation can only exist when we are longing for what is to come, not what is already here.

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Disgusted by Disgust

Disgusted by Disgust

Disgust.  We’ve all felt it, as it’s a universal emotion, but it’s an emotion we try to avoid. 

When Pastor Dustin reached out to the counselors for help writing these blog posts, I was a little later than the other counselors in checking my email. We were given a list of emotions that were to be explored.  Joy and trust were among the first chosen to blog about. Then the emotions of fear, anger and sadness were relatable enough and taken to explore. Disgust was one of the last choices and so I was stuck with it. I was literally disgusted I ended up with the emotion of disgust.  

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How Are We to Be Angry and Not Sin? 

How Are We to Be Angry and Not Sin? 

Anger is not a sin; it is a God-given, God-experienced emotion. Sin enters when our response to the felt emotion goes against showing respect and dignity to image bearers, such as ourselves. 

God experiences anger when Israel continues to return to idol worship and disobedience to their covenant (i.e., God’s boundaries he set up for the Israelite people to protect their relationship with Him and themselves). There are consequences to pushing against God’s boundaries such as distance from Him (i.e. Genesis 3:23-24). Many times in the Old Testament, we see God distance himself from the Israelites when they do not keep the covenant. However, He does not ever cease to offer an alternative response that would lead to restoration of the relationship. 

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A Trail of Trust

A Trail of Trust

“You’re going to have another baby, and it’s going to be ok.” 

These are the words I read in part of a text message from my cousin in Spring of 2017, and I laughed (out loud). I literally thought, “Well, it’s happened. She has gone crazy.” She was sharing this with me in context of some things that she believed God was showing her personally, so this was not even her own random idea. She was telling me what God shared with her ABOUT me. Granted, her walk with God is extremely intimate, and I really should have listened to her. But I didn’t. I laughed and said to myself, “Nope. Not happening. Not in my plan.” 

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Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

One of the most frustrating things about feeling sad is that most people always want to fix sadness or make it go away. Their efforts also make it seem like we ourselves need to try to fix our emotion or make it go away when we are feeling the gray waves of sadness. In my experience, this labels my sadness as something wrong or shameful. 


In 2015, Pixar came out with Inside Out, a comedy-drama about the emotions that live inside us and how they interact with one another. As a fan of NBC’s The Office, I was so excited to hear that Phyllis Smith and Mindy Kaling were both voicing main characters, Sadness and Disgust. As I watched the movie, I saw that Sadness’ character seemed to be the antagonist at first. All the other emotions, especially Joy, became irritated with her interfering and “messing up” the day-to-day experiences that Riley had. Sadness and Joy ended up working together to make a pathway of healing for Riley. Inside Out painted a beautiful picture of the importance of all emotions, as well as the reality of feeling multiple emotions at once. The movie also pointed out a major flaw in our society’s understanding of emotions: that sadness needs to be fixed.

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Can We Have Confidence in Life's Surprises?

Can We Have Confidence in Life's Surprises?

The emotion of surprise is different from the emotions we’ve discussed in our “All the Feels” series so far. Surprise is a bit more complex. The emotion of joy is consistently a comfortable emotion, while fear is consistently an uncomfortable emotion. Surprise, however, can be both comfortable and uncomfortable.

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