Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Faith, It's a Journey

I have been having so many great discussions about beliefs and faith with my girl friends lately. It seems like a topic that won't go away, and I don't really want it to. It's encouraging, humbling, challenging, and uniting us each time we gather to talk.

It's been kick-started lately by discussions about eternity, death, and life after death as our church is currently going through a series on eternity. Last Sunday, the topic of the sermon was hell. If talking about hell isn't a kick in the pants to share truth with those around us, I don't know what is.

Last night with our community group, I found tears in my eyes as we read Matthew 8:12 that describes "the outer darkness," a place with "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Where there is weeping, there is such great sorrow and pain, I thought to myself. I don't want anyone I know and love to experience that.

There are so many misconceptions about hell, what it's like, why it exists. I think even Christians don't really get it because we've never experienced life without the presence of God. It's something we can't fathom, yet its reality should drive us to proclaim Christ all the more. It's not about getting "converts" or shoving our beliefs down people's throats or telling people how to live. It's about introducing them to the only Person who can complete them, give them true joy, rescue them from sin and death, and offer eternal life.

I'm challenging myself to be more open about Jesus, about what I believe to those I know, because I care about them. Because I don't want to just know them on earth. Because someone once introduced me to Jesus and it changed my life forever in the best possible way. How could I not tell people about that?


Another thing that is generating discussion is an upcoming conference for women that we're having at our church in Iowa City called the IF:Gathering. IF states that it exists to "gather, equip and unleash...women to live out their purpose." I wasn't too sure about it at first, but the more I watch and read, the more excited I am for it.

Since it's a conference that is video-streamed from Austin, there are locations across the country hosting IF:Gatherings next month. So it's not just for locals, which is awesome to know that women from all over will be participating. If you're in or around Iowa City, I invite you to check it out and consider joining us. The conference is Feb. 6 and 7, and you can find a little more information on our church's website, or click here to register. (If you decide to attend the IF:Gathering, let me know! I would love to connect with you at the conference!)

I'm a little late to the party, but today I started going through some Bible studies to gear up for the conference at IF:Equip. They started on Monday, so it won't take long to catch up. Even if you can't go to the conference, these studies are so great and I encourage you to check them out. There's a little reading, a little journaling, and a short video clip, going through the life of Joshua and talking about faith.

The Journey

All of this, discussions about eternity, Bible studies, personal testimonies, just keep bringing to mind that faith is a journey. It's a long process of asking questions, seeking Biblical answers, growing and changing, maturing and learning, seeking God and asking Him to change us into the people He wants us to be. It takes tender hearts, openness, and trust in God that His way is perfect. I don't think anyone ever arrives or has all the answers, but the beauty is in the journey.

I'm excited for this journey, for where it will lead and the people I will meet along the way. God has already put some great women into my life who are encouraging and challenging me in my faith journey, and it's so great to know we're not alone. I'm also excited to continue sharing my experiences here on this blog with all of you. :)

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