Judges Pt 2 – “Faith Upgrade”

Judges Pt 2 – “Faith Upgrade”

In Judges 3:1-4 it tells us that God left the enemy in the promised land both to teach His people about war and to test their faith. God left the enemy when He could’ve removed the enemy?!?. How can this be?!? What was true for the Israelites is still true in our lives today. Remember, the Old Testament is full of types and shadows. Types like Joshua representing King Jesus and leading His people into the land of promise. Shadows like sacrifices that were made to take away sin but, ultimately, pointing to the one time sacrifice, the cross, that would forever do this (Hebrews 9:28, 10:14). God is a good Father and He knows that for us to become mature sons and daughters we don’t just need to be listening to more sermons and attending better conferences. Faith must be tested and squeezed. I have found that faith grows best in everyday life, when we actually have to use it to overcome what is coming against us. God testing our faith? My flesh responds, “That must be Old Testament.” But the truth is that it’s not (James 1:3 & 1 Peter 1:6,7). He still does test our faith, seeing if we will choose Him and that, through the testing, receive an upgrade in faith. Or if we will trust in ourselves and not rely on Him through the test. Upgrades await the people of God when we choose to live by faith. When we choose to believe God and trust Him despite what is happening with our circumstances and situations in life. Our flesh wants the easy road...
Judges Pt 1 – “Iron Chariots”

Judges Pt 1 – “Iron Chariots”

Today, the world has a lot of messages it’s telling and selling us. One that has been told and retold is we must use common sense when living our lives. Often, this can be true and wise; however, the issue is that if you want to live a life of faith it will not be “common” (even in Christian community) or at times “makes sense” to other people (or even ourselves haha). Over the years living in Isla Vista, I have been up against many enemies. Enemies within my own soul like doubts, fears, insecurities, and constantly walking into the unknown. Enemies from the outside that impose the work of God in our city. And enemies that come with leading a church in a college town with limited resources, finances, and the constant change of people from year to year. I share this to help you understand that enemies are normal and God even uses them to build our faith in Him. His desire is that we would rely on Him and His strength when we encounter them instead of trusting in our own strength to overcome them. This is what happened in chapter one in the book of Judges. God told the tribe of Judah that (1) He was with them and (2) that He would drive our their enemies.  The key word is “He” as our tendency is to show up in life thinking we are alone and it’s our job to defeat the enemy we are up against. “The LORD said, Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand….Now the LORD was with Judah, and they took possession of...
LIVING A LIFE THAT TERRIFIES YOU

LIVING A LIFE THAT TERRIFIES YOU

I was radically arrested by the love of God in 2001 during an encounter I had the first time I personally chose to go to church. Ever since then, I have felt as if I am on the perpetual free fall of a roller coaster: hands up and half way between freaked out  and limitless joy. God made us to live lives that terrify us if we don’t partner with Him. To have dreams that can’t be accomplished with our own abilities. To pray prayers that are God-size. To live a life that trust more in the unseen than the seen. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) At the end of my life, I don’t want to hear people say that Jason was a good man who played life safe, who didn’t take risk for King Jesus. I want people to be encouraged by my faith in Jesus and  inspired to live a life that required God to show up. We all have a side that opposes risk, preferring to play it safe and have life remain somewhat predictable. There is much comfort in the mundane. Some of you may not agree with that statement: you love to take risks and crave adventure. Take it from me, once you have helped plant and lead a church, lived in community as a house dad of twenty-five for two and a half years, had five biological kids of your...
LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE

LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE

This is a journal entry from an intern that is currently at Isla Vista Church. I felt his honesty, vulnerability, and insights were worth sharing. We can all learn and “grow from this.” “Faith does not grow in the house of certainty”- W.M. Paul Young When your life falls apart, it’s not an easy task to take an honest look at yourself. The majority of the time, your self evaluation becomes clouded with uncertainty and pain. Questions loom with undeniable weight to them. Who’s to blame for this? Could I have done a better job? Why didn’t I make the right decision? What did I do to deserve this? The fact of the matter is, while trying to point your finger at who’s to blame, you lose focus on the question that really matters. Let me tell you what I think that question is… “How can I grow from this?” I believe this question is key to any misfortune. The reality is, life is unpredictable. It doesn’t respect your age, weight, occupation, aspirations, hopes, and dreams. Life just happens. The only certainty we have, is a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we give up our power as judge and jury, and choose to say, “Okay God, I’m not happy about where I am at this moment, but I am trusting you to use this situation for the benefit of our relationship.” That is when amazing things are able to take place. That is when our perspectives become minuscule and God becomes magnified. Isn’t that what we strive for? You see, we serve a God who is capable of taking...
A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 4)

A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 4)

Faith is described as a shield in the Bible. “Above all” of our spiritual armor, this piece we are to take up. It protects us from “all” the fiery darts of the wicked one. Anything that our enemy will throw at us in effort to make us stumble can be thwarted by our faith in God. Ephesians 6:16  “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” As I stood worshipping God with my newborn in my arms, trying to get her to sleep while my other daughter was napping so I could nap, I asked the Lord how having faith could help me get through all that I am going through in life right now–from having my second child, to having to move in a month and a half, not having a place to go nor a new job for my husband when his ends in 2 months. Then, the Holy Spirit whispered this verse into my heart. It is through faith that I am going to overcome all of the challenges that I face in this difficult time. For several months, I knew I’d be moving and my husband needed a new job. As time passed, I had a lot of peace in my heart because of my faith in God’s goodness towards us and His faithful provision. It literally felt like a covering for me, just like a shield. Trusting that God has a plan for our family, that He takes care of our needs and that He knows what He is...
A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 3)

A LIFE OF FAITH (PT 3)

I have noticed that new believers in Jesus often will take greater risks, and are more willing to try something new, than seasoned believers. I think we can get too familiar with Jesus and Christian culture that the longer we walk with Jesus, the more likely we are to lose sight that we are following a wild and untamed Messiah. Jesus has called all of us into a life of adventure: one that requires Him to show up in our life, or we are going to sink. When Peter asked Jesus to walk on water (Matthew 14:29), His immediate response was “Come!” And it says that Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. Peter didn’t know the water would support his weight; all He knew is that if Jesus is doing it, he wanted to do it too. This a key to living a life of faith and taking risk in God: If Jesus is doing it, we want to do it too. I remember this one time I was on a bike ride with my son Jeremiah, who at the time was 5 years old. I was charging down this hill by our house and forgot he was behind me. When I turned around, to my surprise, he was doing the same thing. Not going to lie: I was a bit freaked out. He ended up being ok – a little bit of speed wobbles toward the end – but he didn’t’t wipe out. There is something in our God given spiritual dna (daddy’s natural attributes) that just wants to do what...
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