Rachel Shane

24

Yes, I think I am going to revive my blog. And what better way to do so than not breaking my habit of writing my Birthday blog. :) So yes, this blog will be very selfish-like, but, hey, it’s my Birthday, so I am going to write more-so about me.

23 was a great, busy year. Worked 3 different jobs. Went on two missions trips. Got a boyfriend (what?!). I lived life. I wanted to blog, and I would write, but often I wrote about things that Christians did that made me upset, and by the end of my writing I often just felt hypocritical, so I wouldn’t post it. Here’s to trying to post again.

Here is basically the 3 things I am going to work on when I am 24.

1. Discipline –  As you can see below, in my year 23, I committed to resting more, even though I was going to start working more hours. Did I succeed? Not really. What I learned is that I am a person who struggles A LOT with discipline. I worked on being disciplined in so many areas of my life the past year, but as I sit here today, I still feel like I am a pretty un-disciplined person. I also feel as though I am in this never-ending season of working on this, but I’ve come to my mind that it is okay. So many times I want quick fixes in my life, but sometimes things take time. I am going to commit this year to continue to work on discipline. Discipline in spending time in prayer, in studying the Word, in resting, in exercising, in doing better work, in controlling how much I eat, in speaking God’s truth to my mind, in sharing the Gospel, in taking time for people. In all aspects of my life I can increase in discipline. Hebrews 12:11 inspires me to focus on this, because ultimately, I think God will use me more for the Kingdom, and I can simply know Christ better if I am more disciplined. Yes, I am creating S.M.A.R.T goals. No I don’t wanna write about it.

2. Seeking Wisdom – I wrote a blog (that I didn’t post) on how I think everyone in my generation is seeking happiness or some sort of experience or beauty rather than wisdom. In the ever increasing Ravi Zacharias sermons I listen to, more and more I don’t want to seek these things, but actually seek wisdom. Seek how God sees things. Seek what is actually important. Make life choices based on what is wise, not what is most pleasing to me. Why do I want to seek this? Because in the long run, I actually think I will be happier. I actually think I will be a nicer, generous, more loving, selfless person. I actually think I will be more satisfied than living for the next experiential high. I will know more of who God is, and have a more accurate perspective on life, and that is, eternal perspective. So yeah, seeking wisdom sounds better than to not.

3. Remaining in Christ – This is my favorite section of verses right now: John 15:1-17. When you read it, literally picture Jesus sitting right across from you, saying these words to you.

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

This is what I want more in my life – to be so connected to Christ. To remain in him daily. To love like he loved. To serve like he served. To bear much fruit and to make more disciples, as he has commanded us to do. And in this position, more peace, joy, love, and a fulfilling life will be found.

Will I accomplish all these things? Hopefully take a greater step, but ultimately, these are probably life-long goals. Lord willing, He will bless me with another year to try.

Humbled

Hey friends.

I promise a real post with sincere thoughts is on its way. 

But first I wanted to share this picture and tell you how humbled I feel to be used by God. 

Four years ago I started a night of worship with six people at Concordia College. We continued to meet weekly, and the meeting started to grow. Two years later when I graduated, we were averaging 125 students coming every week. 

Two+ years since I have been there, this group is continuing to meet. God is graciously moving in huge ways through Concordia. I feel so blessed, humbled, and honored to have been a part of the beginning. I am so grateful, thrilled, and amazed at how God is continuing to do mighty things there.

Here is a picture of the group from last week. I so miss this place!  

Image

Ephesians 3:20-21

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.”

#23

Going to start a tradition – to give a blog on my birthday.  You can see my post last year by clicking here.

The noteworthy things that I did while I was 22:

I went to Haiti for a missions trip. This was a life changing trip, and I am excited to be going again this January.

I also went to Atlanta, Georgia for a Children’s Ministry Conference.  I learned so much about Children’s Ministry. It was an invaluable tool for my job. And it was a fun adventure to travel, rent a car, and stay in a hotel by myself.

I slowed down last year.  For years I have been running through life, only taking rests when I was sick. Year 22 was not like that. I made more time for people and for God. My average amount of sleep per night went from probably 5 to 8. I said yes to doing more fun things, like going to apple orchards to play with deer.

Starting Monday that will change slightly though…I am starting a new job at Securian Financial Group. During September and October I will be working about 60 hours a week between my two jobs. I have been struggling being nervous about getting too busy again. I really have enjoyed working only about 45 hours a week this year. As I have been trying to surrender my worries to God in my devotional times, he has been speaking these things to me:

  1. When I will be in heaven for 50 trillion years, year 23 is not going to matter too much. I won’t remember being tired, I won’t remember being stressed. This season of life – though I don’t know how long it will last, is temporary. Eternal rest and peace is coming.
  2. My feelings on my current job or life situation is not the spiritual test I use to decipher whether I am or am not walking in God’s will. There are plenty of Bible stories where God asks people to do things they don’t want to do. Look at Moses, Jonah, or Esther’s life. They all probably would have chosen another way instead of the tough situations God put them in, but it was God’s great and sovereign plan for them to do something really difficult. There is nothing I want more in my life than to walk in the purpose that He has for me. Through easy or tough jobs, slow or busy seasons, God will be with me, and I believe this is the path he wants me to take right now.
  3. I will never find true satisfaction or contentment in a job or life situation. My hope, trust, and joy daily are in God alone. I am so glad that none of those things are dependent on this new job!
  4. God’s got my life. He is for me. He loves me more than I can comprehend. If God was going to withhold anything from me, it would be the thing most precious to him – his own beloved Son: Jesus. But he hasn’t done that; instead he gave Jesus up for my sake to be punished for my sin so that I might be justified and have eternal life. So what reason does God have to withhold anything else from me unless it is ultimately for my benefit? – that good word was from Kelly Needham.
  5. I am not going to forget what I learned this year, that is – the importance and command from God to rest. So I am committing to have a day of rest every Saturday this year.

Year 23. Bring it.

Summer Songs

I promise, a blog of substance is coming –  but I wanted to share some songs that are keeping me in the happy-fun-summer mood.

First, J Biebs and I are becoming friends. How could I dislike him when he puts out good music like this song?

Secondly, how can you not LOVE Minneapolis kids who were encouraged to get good grades by receiving studio time? This is the best.

Lastly, Lecrae’s album “Church Clothes” has been on repeat in my car. I chose this song to post, not because it is my favorite jam on the album, but because the lyrics are so good. Lecrae’s songs are practically sermons. Preach it man. All day.

 

All Sons and Daughters

I cannot express enough how much I love the music of All Sons and Daughters. I think I have been listening to them everyday for the past four months. Well, maybe not everyday, but close.

All Sons and Daughters are two worship leaders that got together to write songs for their church family. Their albums are the fruition of their songs for the church.

They have two EP’s out. Buy both of them. I am serious.

Here are a few videos for you to hear and get hooked.

This is actually a video from the last baptism service we had at my church, Renovation Church. You should first watch this video because the baptism footage is awesome, and you should feel compelled to come to my church. But this post is still to share the music of All Sons and Daughters, so take note of the awesome song playing throughout the video. That is them.

Paul Baloche is actually wrote and is leading this song, but All Sons and Daughters have this song on their  second EP, and this is currently my favorite worship song. David and Leslie (the members that make up All Sons and Daughters) are the other worship leaders in this video. Churches – play this song.

This video is of the song that made both EP’s, Reason to Sing. Super beautiful, both the song and Leslie. Leslie – please tell me where you got your awesome hat that you always wear. Please.

Okay now. Go to the itunes store. Type in All Sons and Daughters. By their music. Be productive today.

Rainy Days

I feel like it has been raining everyday. It probably hasn’t been, but in my mind it has.

Here is how I typically spend rainy days in the summer if I am not working:

Go to the gym to workout. Take a nap.

Clean and organize room. Drink some coffee. Lay in bed and read this book.

Practice piano. Make a rainy day playlist on itunes. Put these on there.

Look out the window and admire the rain while I wash dishes.

Pray the sun comes out.

Praise

Okay, random life occurrences to get me to my revelation today.

Last week I got my wisdom teeth removed. Apparently a nerve was damaged during my surgery, and now the right bottom half of my lip to my chin is numb. The nerve may take weeks, months, or never heal. I am hopeful that it will heal, but today I realized, it might not. Forever part of my face may be numb.

I met with my friend for coffee. One of the first things he tells me is, “You’re getting tan, praise God.” I laughed. Then we sat outside, and he moves so he can be in direct sunlight. He responds to his action saying, “I want to get tan, praise the Lord”. My dear friend keeps praising God for the opportunity to get tan.

I was online and stumbled upon this website, www.prayfordaisy.com. This is the blog of a 7-year-old girl who just got diagnosed with cancer for the 3rd time. She lives in a Christian family; her father actually is the pastor of a huge church in California.

My friend got in a serious car accident with 4 youth group girls in her truck. Everyone was okay. She praised the Lord for their safety.

Okay, through all of these things, through terrible things, through irrelevant things, through miracles, we should always be giving praise to God. And not only we should be giving praise to God in any situation, I think we can even give praise to God FOR the situation.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Simply, every good thing in our life came from God. But our definition of “good” is different than God’s. So even things that we don’t see as good, can still come from God, because it may actually be good for reasons we don’t see. And we should praise God for everything he gives us.

James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” It is a challenging word, to claim joy, not in, but for difficult times. In every situation, we should praise God for the opportunity to become more like him.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t say he will work to bless us with continually happy things. He says no matter what, if you love me, I am going to pull good out of everything. And we should praise God for that promise.

So when my friend was still alive from a car accident, it was right to praise God. If they all would have been killed, it would have been appropriate to praise God for their lives, and how their legacy would now change the world.

It is right to praise God for allowing a precious girl to have cancer. It is a terrible thing in our eyes, but the fruit of maturation in faith in the family and the others around them may be priceless. God is doing good through her terrible situation, no doubt. We should praise him for that.

It is appropriate to praise God for silly things, such as getting tan. Why not praise God for creating the sun to be able to change our skin color, on top of the hundreds of other purposes it has.

I want to praise God for making my face numb, even if it may be that way till I get my new, glorified body. Today I am learning how I cared too much about my face. It is just my face. It was, and still is perfectly made. And my face, no matter what condition, should never decrease my amount of praise to God.

American Culture Convictions

I have been convicted of being hypocritical lately.

I believe this is my fourth attempt at writing a post. I tried writing one about how people accidently preach the prosperity gospel. And then I felt convicted about writing that while I drank my $3 iced coffee, which could have fed a couple of starving kids today. I think many of my friends are preaching too much about how God will bless us, when he simply might not by health or wealth on earth. I could get a brain tumor and die tomorrow, or end up homeless in a year. But truth is he has totally blessed me monetarily and in health in this season of my life. And, he is still a God worth giving up everything for if I end up sick, persecuted, or homeless. Actually, if that happened, I would have more in common with Christ, which is kind of what I am going for – he didn’t have a home, and then was killed. The gospel was so that I may have eternal life – not temporary blessings.

Praise God, my trip to Haiti has still been shaping my worldview. I was overwhelmed yesterday when I went shopping to buy new bed sheets. There are so many options. And then I remembered the hundreds of thousands of kids who sleep on cardboard, cement blocks or dirt. I guess I probably don’t need new bed sheets. But then again, I live in America, and this is what we do, we buy bed sheets. No one would tell me I am wrong in buying some new sheets after using the same ones for 12 years. And I ruined my sheets by my $10 dollar hairspray exploding all over them, so I MUST buy new sheets instead of doing everything I can to save those old bed sheets, right? Amazing how spending $30 dollars is such not a huge deal in my life. Over half of the world doesn’t make that much money in a month. Imagine that, really, if getting new bed sheets meant I had to spend 1/12 of my income for the whole year, would I get new bed sheets? No, no I wouldn’t. I would try to save my old ones.

Basically, I don’t want to be judging others so much, because I find myself guilty of the things I point my fingers at. I also don’t want to continually have my life shaped by American culture. I want to have clearer perspective, remembering that I am in the top 95% of richest people in the world. Not so I can be happy, call myself favored or blessed, but so that I can use my God given resources to help others who are not blessed by God monetarily. Those people exist, and are not one ounce less loved or favored by God. And truly, this “blessing” of wealth too often becomes or creates idols, so am I really more “blessed” by having something in my life that causes me to sin more? Nah, I would probably be better off without it.

Receiving vs. Reproducing

Friends.

I first want to preface, if you are not a book reader, I highly recommend becoming one. It is really important to learn things, and one of the best ways to learn is by reading. I know some of you may disagree, and say, “well I learn better by experience”. So do I, but the magnitude of what there is to learn cannot always be by experience, it must also be by study.

I recently read the book Radical by David Platt. This is a great book that I strongly believe every Christian in America should read. There are probably 100 things I would like to quote from this book, but I am only going to quote one random thing, to make my blog point :)

Excerpt from Radical, page 101-102:

“I often ask members of our church if they are receivers or reproducers of God’s Word. Let me illustrate the difference.

Imagine being in Sudan. You walk into a thatched hut with a small group of Sudanese church leaders, and you sit them down to teach God’s Word. As soon as you start, you lose eye contact with all of them. No one is looking at you, and you hardly see their eyes the rest of the time. The reason is because they’re writing down every word you say. They come up to you afterword and say, “Teacher, we are going to take everything we have learned from God’s Word, translate it into our languages, and teach it in our tribes.” They were not listening to receive, but listening to reproduce.

Now journey with me to a contemporary worship service in the United States. Some people have their Bibles open, while others don’t have a Bible with them. A few people are taking notes, but for the most part they are passively sitting in the audience. While some are probably disengaged, others are intently focused on what the preacher is saying, listening to God’s Word to hear how it applies to their lives. But the reality is, few are listening to reproduce.

We are, by nature, receivers. Even if we have a desire to learn God’s Word, we still listen from a default self-centered mind-set that is always asking, What can I get out of this? But as we have seen, this is unbiblical Christianity. What if we changed the question whenever we gathered to learn God’s Word? What if we began to think, How can I listen to his Word so that I am equipped to teach this Word to others? 

This changes everything. All of a sudden the pen and the paper come out. Note taking is not the measure of how committed we are to making disciples, but if we are hearing God’s Word taught in order to teach others, then we want to get it down as best we can. When we realize we have the responsibility to teach the Word, it changes everything about how we hear the Word.”

Conviction. I have rarely listened to a sermon with that intent. Normally I come at it with a “what can I learn about God and how can I apply it to my life” mindset. I personally need to change the way I read the Word and listen to sermons. I need to go into these things not only with the mindset to apply it to my life, but with gaining tools so I can confidently teach any and every part of the Bible to others.

It is vital to read, learn, and learn well enough to teach, so that others may come to know the Truth.

 

 

 

Ben Rector

March is such a great month. Such a great month.

I am going to see in concert Andrew Ripp, Ben Rector, Dave Barnes, Gungor, Needtobreathe, and some other sweet concert that my friend is bringing me to, (I forget the name at the moment).  But obviously it is a great concert month.

Ben Rector is opening for Needtobreathe.  I have known about Ben Rector for a long while. To me Ben has always been one of those artists in my mind that I have said, “yeah, I will listen to him eventually, after I get through the other 4 albums I just bought.”

Wrong logic. Go buy all of his music now and put it to the top of your listening list. I am not even kidding.

In my efforts to convince you to buy all of his music, I am going to lead you through the same process which made me an avid fan.

First, watch this music video.

Then watch this music video.

Then go here and get some free samples of his music. You will then realize that his music is even better than the covers above.

Noisetrade

Then go on itunes and buy all the other songs that he has recorded.

Then listen to everything on repeat.

Finally comment my blog thanking me for making your life better.

You’re welcome.

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