• Be original, please.  You are an incredible work of art.  Your thoughts, dreams and vision are unique and necessary.  They must be expressed.  Don’t settle for quoting someone else, doing what they do, living how they live.  Allow their influence to release YOU, not another version of them.  Don’t rip us off by giving us a cheap version of another.  We want you.  Don’t worry about how we respond.  You, the real one, will take a little getting used to.  That’s OK.  Give it to us and keep giving.  We’ll come to realize just how great you really are.  And if we don’t, that’s OK too.  We are probably just struggling with our own insecurity in being the real US.
  • Isaiah 54:17 And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord… God’s children quote these words when being accused, ridiculed or persecuted.  How sad it will be when they one day realize they are on the wrong end of this verse.  The all-too-common mantra is to tear down any authority figure not aligned with our beliefs.  When we do this, we fail to recall that those who rule are considered servants of God (Romans 13:6).  It takes no less energy to pray for our leaders than it does to criticize them.  Hate and harsh criticism are not Christ-like.  I fear that the following words are more true than we want them to be… Be Christ, not Christian.  Use your tongue wisely or don’t use it at all.
  • Sin does not phase the Lord.  I’m willing to bet that some of you when first reading that thought the fourth word was please.  It speaks to our preconceived ideas about God. Too many shun spiritual environments when convicted of their sin.  Church, brothers and sisters in Christ, family – this is the very place you belong.  We have falsely believed the Lord and His kids are better off not being around us when we are “a mess”.  You were created to heal in the midst of a culture of love, not isolated from it.  What does hinder the Lord’s activity is hardness of heart.  Where there is an unwillingness to change, you will find the Lord cannot work.  Lack of faith, pride or defiance are all heart conditions He will not force Himself upon.  No matter how dirty or crazy the mess might be, if there’s a soft heart, there is where you will find the Lord.
  • The blood of Jesus is enough to wash away sin.  Your works and self-punishment won’t help.  Just trust Jesus and the power of His blood.  It washes, delivers and heals.  That is all.
  • Do.  I have waited for too many fleeces, too many unanswered prayers, too many “When they…. then I’s”.  Just do it.  Choose people.  Love them, forgive them, initiate.  Take the risk.  Failure is a fantastic and necessary step toward success.  You’ve probably got what it takes.  And what you’re missing, someone else has.  So link up and get going.

You are loved.