Friday, April 25, 2014

Parable of the Lost Shoe - By Kaitlyn F.

Parable of the Lost Shoe

By Kaitlyn F.

When Jesus was alive, he would talk in parables or stories. One of 
my favorite parables is the one of the lost sheep. The parable goes,  

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. 
Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after 
the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts
it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and 
neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost
sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in
heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous
persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:4-7) 

Now we can get the idea of the parable, but it can be hard for us to
relate. So instead of sheep, we think of the loss of one shoe. The 
parable would go, 

“Suppose one of you has a hundred pairs of shoes and loses one of
them that goes perfectly with your blue sequined dress. Doesn’t she
leave the ninety-nine in the open closet and go after the lost shoe until
she finds it? And when she finds it, she joyfully puts it on her foot and
goes to her room to get ready for the dance. Then she calls her friends
 and boyfriend together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my 
lost shoe.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in
heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous 
persons who do not need to repent.” 

When we place the parable in modern times, it is easier to see the 
significance. Imagine if you did really lose your show that goes 
perfectly with your dress for the prom. Wouldn’t you look 
everywhere to find it? That is exactly what God does. He hunts 
you down like you hunt down your lost shoe. Another reason why 
I like to use the parable with shoes is that each pair goes to a 
specific outfit. Some shoes are meant to go with dresses and some
 are meant to go with jeans and a T-shirt. One isn’t better than the 
other they just have specific tasks to do. If we all are shoes, then 
we each have a specific task to do. We can’t all go with each outfit.
 That why some of us have a specific skill, that someone else my 
not have. But we were all created for the same reason, and we are
all equally loved.

White Boots - By Leah F.

White Boots

By Leah F.

Recently, Jamie Grace's new album came out; Ready to Fly. In that album, there is a song called "White Boots." Here are the lyrics to the chorus:
"I got my white boots, I got my white dress
And I ain't getting them dusty
All I need you to bring; are love rings
And I know in time I'll be ready
'Cause I've been waiting waiting waiting for you;
In my white boots"

Now, to most people (including me) you might just think this is about a girl in a wedding dress waiting for love. But this song is all a metaphor. The white boots and dress represent purity, and the dust represents sexual sin.

God's Holy Word says your body is a temple, to keep it sacred and holy. You shouldn't abuse it
stain it. A part in Galatians 5 says, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious; sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Culture goes against these things today. Over drinking and hurting your brain is allowed as long as
your not driving. Hatred against people and yourself seems to be okay. It causes awful things; like
murder, suicide, destruction, and even war. But most of all; you can just have sex with whoever and
whenever. As Christians, we should know that this is wrong. You should keep your body pure and holy, for that's what God commands. The Bible goes on and on about how commuting adultery is wrong, but some people just refuse to accept it. People think that because society is okay, we must just be thinking wrong.

Exodus 20:14 says, "You shall not commit adultery." Guess where this is from: the Ten Commandments. If God wasn't serious about this topic, I'm 100% certain it wouldn't be in the ten laws given to Moses by God, written in stone; literally!!!!

Proverbs 6:32 says, "He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." This verse shows how that by commuting adultery, you lack a certain wisdom. And if you commit adultery, you ruin yourself; you ruin the temple that God made you to be.

Romans 13:13 says, "Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." This verse shows how you need to not follow the world's example, but Jesus' example. We need to live as if we were Jesus, leaving a good example, and standing up to what we think is right (based on Biblical beliefs.)

Now I leave you with this; I pray that you will keep your white boots and your white dress. I also pray that you help pass on this message.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Testimony - Rebecca U.

Jesus death and resurrection has changed my life because I have hope for a future. A future in heaven with Christ! I know that because I have trusted Jesus as my savior; I will go to heaven one day and live eternally with God. I also have hope that no matter how rough my life on earth is, one day I will be in heaven where everything is perfect.

Easter Testimony - Kaitlyn F.

I grew up in a Christian home all my life.  Around the end of elementary school, and the beginning of middle school, my faith wasn’t as strong as it should have been. Most of my friends had betrayed me, and around 7th grade I started to watch videos that I knew my parents didn’t want me watching.  My self-esteem was really low but I kept acting like everything was okay. At the beginning of 11th grade, God took every comfort I had and stripped it from me. I started from square one during my mission trip to Panama. That week, I got a renewed passion for God, and I slowly started to see myself as a beautiful girl who could do anything she wanted. All the lies that I was told all through middle school, started to melt away when I chose to believe what God tells me. This whole year has just been a year of growth for me. I have gained so much confidence in myself, and I started to mend broken relations and I made new friends. Most of all, my love, my trust, my faith in God has grown the most. God will break us, but we will come back stronger then we were before because we stopped relying on what we can do, and we start relying on what God can do. And as I have found out, God can do a lo more then I could every imagine doing on my own.

Easter Testimony - Emily M.

Emily M.

Before I really Knew Christ and experienced Him I had no idea what it meant to say it as David did. I had been going down the wrong path and yet the God who loves people more than anything reached down and gave me his hand and his heart and now I can say it with much humbleness

Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Easter Testimony - Sarah P.

Sarah P.

I think the way that Jesus's death and resurrection has changed my life is this: knowing that He died for me. Just knowing that He suffered so much, that He was tortured and crucified, really comforts me when I struggle and feel worthless. I'm not worthless; His death proves that He loves me enough to die for me! The fact that He rose again proves the same thing: His love conquers even death itself! That is such a real example of true love! When I feel tired and discouraged, I can rest knowing that the same love that conquered death can carry me through my struggles. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." -1 Corinthians 13:7-8a, ESV

Easter Testimony - Julianna O.

Julianna O.

I've been saved since I was 7 years old but I never really understood what being a Christian meant. Sure I went to church every week and learned about Jesus and his death and resurrection a ton of times but I never really knew what it actually meant. Now a few years later, when I turned 13, I started going to youth group every week. I learned about Jesus dying and rising from the tomb but this time it was different. I could feel the Holy Spirit on me when I learned about it and I really understood what it meant. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. When he was on the cross the curtain in the temple slit from top to bottom. That means, to me, that everyone can enter the Holy of Holies and be saved. On the third day he rose from the grave and that was a very awesome thing that happen. So now I know that Jesus lives up in Heaven with God. It makes me really happy to know that Jesus is alive and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Easter Testimony - Sarah K.

Sarah K.

Before I knew Christ, I knew that life was empty, but I didn't know what would fill it up. After He changed my heart, and His love softened my heart of stone, life became full of color and joy. I learned that to really live, I must die to myself. True Life is found only in Christ, my Savior. As it says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The Life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Easter Testimony - TreAnna B.

TreAnna B.

I don't have any grandiose accounts of how I came to Christ, but I really don't regret that. I was born and raised in a small country town, where church was a vital part of life. I grew up in a Baptist church, and every Easter we would hear the story of the resurrection. Before I came to know Christ personally, the preacher's sermon was just that: another sermon. More boring words, more off-key singing, more of the same old church routine. However, after I came to know Christ, I begin to really look at what He had done for me. I'm not saying I fully understand, and I don't think I ever will, but I understand more now than when I was younger. One Easter about two years ago, we had a new youth pastor who wanted to do something different. So on Easter morning members of our youth group (myself included) acted out a skit to the song Glorious Day by Casting Crowns. I was privileged to play the part of Mary, and during this skit, I realized something: What I was feeling wasn't just me pretending to be Mary. It was me. I was sad that Jesus died on a cross, that He was beaten and hurt for me. I was happy when I got to see Him again (or I guess for when I actually will get to see Him again.) This realization baffled me, but at the same time, it made me feel wonderful and thankful. 

Today most of my writing still reflects this theme of sacrifice because I want to explore why Jesus did for me what He did. The more I look the more beautiful I find His actions, because honestly there is no reason. He did it for me because He loves me. What more could anyone want besides that?  

Easter Testimony - Hillary Beth

Hillary Beth Koenig

Before I knew Christ, I had no desire to forgive others; after I understood what He had done for me, and I trusted Him, I wanted to follow Him in things like 1 Corinthians 13: "Love keeps no records of wrongs." Also, as I child, I was fascinated with ghost stories, but after I was saved I realized that the supernatural things that God has done - raising Jesus from the dead, changing my life and others' - that was what my heart really longed to know! Those things were the truth and not just myths!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Amazing Love

Amazing Love

By Sarah P.

“Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
~John 19:19-22, NLT

Pilate, the one who allowed Jesus to be crucified, wrote the truth. "King of the Jews," was the inscription he chose. That is exactly what Jesus was, and is! He is the Savior, the Redeemer, God's own Son. Pilate seemed to recognize, at least, that Jesus was no ordinary person. It was written just as Jesus Himself had said it, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world." (John 18:37a, NKJV) Even when Jesus was nailed to the cross, suffering the most horrible death possible, this was above His head. It was the truth, and this truth was the exact reason why He was being crucified.

Yet the same people who falsely accused Jesus of evil and blasphemy were angry. They couldn't stand for Jesus to be justly called the King, even as He died. They wanted the inscription to be changed. These people wanted it to be "He said, 'I am the king of the Jews.'" Not wanting to even think about how they had murdered God's Son, these Jewish priests wanted everyone who saw this to assume that Jesus deserved death.

I was thinking about how evil that was, and I know the truth: Jesus died anyway. He died for us even as He was mocked and beaten and lied about. He endured these people's scorn and pride as they tried to take away even the last bit of truth about who He was. One thing my dad likes to say is that it wasn't nails that held Jesus to the cross; it was His love for us. Can you imagine letting people hurt and mock you just because you loved someone that much? What’s even harder to understand is that Jesus not only died for the people who accept Him, He died for everyone: even the people who wouldn't- and won't- accept Him as Savior. Jesus died for everyone; He paid for everyone’s sins, everyone’s pride, and everyone’s failures, even though He was innocent. That's definitely the strongest and most powerful love ever.

As I was thinking about Jesus’s love, I’ve been reading Romans chapter eight. It talks about many things that encourage a Christian: new life in Christ, living like Christ, looking forward to heaven, and the fact that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Verse eleven says this,

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” (NLT)

Although Christ died for us, and the fact of His death should not be ignored, He didn’t stay there. In fact, what happened after He died can be summed up in three simple words:


Jesus is not dead. He’s very much alive, even today! And this verse says that the Spirit of God, the One who raised Jesus from the dead, lives inside of Christians! What are you afraid of? Being unpopular? Public speaking? Death itself? It doesn’t matter: Christ defeated it. And He still does, every day. We can have the same Spirit living in us that defeated death. That’s kind of empowering, isn’t it?

“And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” –Romans 8:17-18, NLT

If you feel invincible now, just remember that Jesus said it wouldn’t be easy. In fact, He tells us directly, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b, NLT) If we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we still have to go through trials. Jesus isn’t giving us a free pass on life; He’s just telling us that no matter what troubles we go through, He will give us the strength to bear them.

So, what about Pilate? What did he think about Jesus? Pilate told the Jews many times, "I find no fault in Him at all." (See John chapters 18 and 19). Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but he let Him be crucified anyway. Why? Well, He thought the opinion of the majority mattered more than an innocent person's life. Pilate might have lost his job if he refused to let Jesus be crucified. He was afraid; too afraid to do the right thing. You could probably compare anybody who is a Christian (or an unbeliever, for that matter) to Pilate. We all get scared to do the right thing. That holds some of us back. Sometimes I wait too long to do the right thing because I'm scared. I get scared of what people will think of me, and I don't want to make a fool of myself. That shouldn't stop me from doing the right thing. I need to trust that God knows best and do the right thing, no matter what others think. If Jesus had been concerned about what other, more popular people thought, He wouldn’t have died. There would be no grace, no forgiveness, and no demonstration of true love. Aren’t you glad that Jesus loved us enough to die for us, even though it was hard? He followed God and obeyed Him in everything because of His love for the Father and for us.

I guess the closing question is, "What are you going to do?" Are you going to hold back, like Pilate, or give it all, like Jesus? Though Pilate wrote the truth, he was afraid to act on it. Will you choose to live your life fully for Jesus? Or will you let your fears and other people's opinion hold you back? Will you sit on your Christianity and pretend it’s not important, or will you do what you should? Jesus has promised to give us the strength we need to get through our troubles if we depend on Him. The same love that held Him to the cross and raised Him from the dead is living inside of us! This Easter, as you think about Jesus’s death and resurrection, think about His amazing love. He died and rose again: for everyone!


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