Encountering God in Troubling Times

  • Friday, January 25, 2019
  • By Priscilla Shirer

We’re not just called to read about God, we’re called to experience him. This is the idea which underpins all of Priscilla Shirer’s message, the linchpin of her speech at the She Rises Conference. This is the reason, Shirer explains, why Christ died on the cross for us. So that we might have a personal, continual encounter with Him.

At this point, you might be asking yourself how we can be sure that regular people like us are called to have such an encounter? The way we know, notes Shirer, is because the Bible is chock full of ordinary people who encountered God. Their stories teach us that regular people like us can encounter Him. After all, aren’t there times when we may have doubts like the apostle Thomas?  Or question God’s promises like Abraham? Like Priscilla says, “If regular folks like that can encounter God, then so can we.” God dictated these stories so that we might be encouraged to encounter Christ.

The other point that Priscilla makes is that in order to encounter God, we must learn to recognize Him. Often, in the Bible, Jesus shows up in a different looking “package” than the one people are expecting -- and the people around him don’t really see Him.

And often this applies to our own lives: God shows up in seasons of our lives, but the season is wrapped in a “package” that isn’t what we wanted or isn’t what we expected, so we miss God in those seasons. His fingerprints are all over the situation but sometimes we miss Him completely.

So be encouraged friends. Read the Bible, and understand that it is there to help us learn about God. Then, realize that the knowledge helps us to encounter Him. And when troubling times come along, look for God and His plan in those times -- don’t miss Him, He is always there for you!

Bonding With Others

  • Friday, January 25, 2019
  • By Bobby Schuller

Your Value is Not Based on Your Achievements.

If anyone knows something about belonging, it’s Bobby Schuller. A third-generation pastor, Schuller knows his place in the world. It is out of that pastoral belonging that he shares this truth: we don’t have to struggle to belong, we already do.

It should come as no surprise that the greatest human need is to bond with God and with others, it is a need to belong. Yet we fall into the trap of “constantly hustling for worthiness.” This hustle is our attempt to find value and worth outside of our being sons and daughters of God. We look for our value in our achievements, in our titles, in our work. When we continue this pattern of attempting to find value in this way, it can lead to us feeling spiritually and emotionally numb.

There is hope, however. We don’t need to be trapped in this self-destructive cycle, we can break it. We do this by learning to share, being vulnerable, and being known by others. This takes us out of the “I will make myself worthy” mindset and puts us into a mindset which allows us to walk humbly, be vulnerable, and have a deep, strong relationship with our community and, most importantly, with God.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How do I get to this new mentality?” Prayer is a primary way of bringing about this mentality. Another help, though, is to repeat this simple creed which you can find in Bobby Schuller’s book:

I’m not what I do.
I’m not what I have.
I’m not what people say about me.
I’m the beloved of God.
It’s who I am.
No one can take it from me.
I don’t have to worry.
I don’t have to hurry.
I can trust my friend Jesus and share His love with the world

Remember, you are loved, you are wanted, you are needed, you are forgiven, and you belong.