fellowship

Upside Downside

What goes up must come down, given the gravitational constant for our planet. I was reminded of this reality yesterday on a hike in the foothills west of Denver.  We went up a hill (mountain for flatlanders) & we came down. Simple to type, more strenuous to achieve.  Going up requires different muscles than coming down & the cardio work to ascend is more challenging than descending.

In relation to walking with Jesus, I’m grateful that in every stage of life, His steady presence never leaves us. Some seasons of life are very strenuous & demand tremendous energy & attention. Jesus doesn’t us leave us in these seasons. And in the flat, easy & wise spaces of life, Jesus keeps us company just the same. So regardless of the season of life that we’re in, let’s keep our fellowship with Jesus the continual constant, always pulling us ever close to His side 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Those Yucky People

“Why is He eating & drinking with sinners and tax collectors?”  This is what the scribes of the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples in Mark 2:16, when Jesus got all cozy with these less than upright scum.  The tax collectors and sinners were considered “yucky people” by the religious leaders and zealots of Jesus’ day.  So no wonder they questioned Jesus’ decision to not only associate, but also get cozy with such reprobates.

And I’m so thankful for His reply in Mark 2:17, “It’s not the healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick;  I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Thankfully, Jesus has never required us to get everything clean and pristine in our lives before He would hang out with us.  Not only does He accept us as we are, but He makes us better because of His genuine love for us.  In the same way, let’s be certain that no one in our lives gets the “yucky” treatment, being ostracized, belittled or shamed.  Indeed, Jesus loves us and wants to love through us!

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Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Skin in the Game

It’s easy to be a spectator, watching from the sideline, making comments & suggestions. It’s an entirely different experience to participate rather than spectate. This principle rings true in all kinds of contexts:

  • attending church in contrast to being an active participant,
  • watching people struggle with problems in contrast to helping people with prayer & presence,
  • only reading the Bible rather than applying what the Bible says.

Let’s never forget that God put skin in the game for humanity by letting Jesus become God in the flesh. So let’s be sure that we continue to imitate Jesus in our daily living by being active conduits for God’s presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Thanks For The Extra Grace

I have a pretty consistent morning routine that generally helps to frame each day with sturdy Bible applications & a prayerful mindset, usually. But this morning didn’t pan out that way. I didn’t get to have my normal quiet prayer & Bible time before my family stirs. So I ran out the door to start my day, not having the rich fellowship with God that often sustains me throughout the day. I don’t like it when that happens & I’m grateful that this is a rare occurrence.
And here’s the really magnificent thing today: I’m sensing the Holy Spirit very clearly throughout this day, despite not having my morning tuning & calibrating fellowship. Of course my absence of quiet & solitary fellowship with the Holy Spirit this morning won’t become a daily habit. Nevertheless, sensing the rich presence of the Holy Spirit throughout this day encourages me that the Holy Spirit enjoys my company & interaction, not withholding that intimacy when I fall short on my end.
Be very certain in your heart that you’re deeply valued, highly treasured & greatly celebrated by the Holy Spirit!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 2 comments

Do You Suffer?

Nothing seems to repel us like suffering. Indeed, if we had our way, we’d entirely skip the whole crucifixion thing & leap straight to resurrection.

Maybe that’s why Peter, James & John slept in Gethsemane when Jesus told them to watch & pray, while He travailed in prayer with sweat like drops of blood. I would likely chose to sleep as well rather than watch my Invincible Hero suffer & appear frail & unraveled.
But here’s the best kept secret: there’s tremendous intimacy potential in sharing with suffering. While we follow & admire strength, nothing connects us with someone more than seeing & even sharing in weakness & pain. Some of my best friends have been through the most abysmal experiences with me – we’ve shared in suffering & the bond between us from those experiences has been immensely strengthened.
In Holy Week, today is Maunday Thursday. This is the day when Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples, washed their feet & travailed in Gethsemane. Jesus understands suffering & wants to connect deeply with us, not only in resurrection life, but also in struggles & suffering – the fellowship of suffering: Philippians 3:10-11

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, Pentecost, prayer, relationships, saving moses, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

What Do You Repeat?

Do you have mindless habits? All of us have things that we do without giving much thought to them, such as brushing our teeth, driving home, morning routines, etc. It can be really helpful to have these kind of routines, but sometimes they’re counterproductive.

For example, in Luke 10, Martha & Mary had Jesus come to their house for dinner. Based on Martha’s behavior in other stories in the Gospels, it seems like she fell into the routine of cooking, serving & being busy with getting stuff done. All of these things aren’t inherently wicked, but if we allow our routines to sabotage our fellowship with Jesus, then they become more of a hindrance than a help.
Let’s always remember that Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 to seek His kingdom first & we’ll have what we need! Let’s be sure our routines reinforce our intimacy with Jesus rather than distract us in mindless disconnect 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Fellowship

Presently, I have the honor of speaking at the Bible School Andrew Womack has, Charis Bible College and what an honor this is for me! I love many things about getting to minister here, but one of absolute favorite things is the fellowship & conversations around the Bible and about the Holy Spirit!  
This makes me realize that God has set up our lives for communion & fellowship with others who follow Jesus. 

Sometimes this can get tricky from various struggles: misunderstandings, conflicts, dysfunctions, misaligned purposes, etc. 

With that being said, let’s be clear that God fully intends for us to keep fellowship with other believers. Consider Acts 2:42, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching & to fellowship, to the breaking of bread & to prayer.”

Be sure to keep your fellowship with other followers of Jesus as a high priority in your life!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, relationships, saving moses, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

hot topic: cannibals & carnivores

“Eat My flesh and drink My blood.”  As we come into the Easter season (a little early for my Orthodox friends), we are often reminded of these words of Jesus at the Last Supper.

This statement about eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood has raised many questions over the centuries:

  • Was Jesus anti-vegan or opposed to a vegetarian lifestyle?
  • Was this Jesus’ way of promoting a gluten-free lifestyle, emphasizing the consumption of meat & blood?
  • Was Jesus advocating a type of divine cannibalism?

As you read these questions & probably think of a few more, please don’t think that I’ve suddenly lost the plot & become obsessed with some new type of eating lifestyle.  My goal with this post is to raise your awareness that we are coming into Holy Week, when we celebrate Jesus’ death & resurrection, around Jesus’ central words at the Last Supper, with His closest followers.

From my point of veiw, Jesus’ words about eating His flesh & drinking His blood show us in a really powerful way that Jesus love for us runs so deep that He invites us to not only revel in His strength & resurrection, but also to fellowship with Him in His suffering, pain & death – Phil 3:10.  Let’s fully enjoy all of Who Jesus is during this Easter season!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, seeing Jesus, values, watch, 3 comments

Loving me some China!

I started coming to China more than 25 years ago & I totally love this place & the people even more! China is wonderful in lots of different ways – rich history, very cool people, great food, diverse cultures & much more.
But let me encourage you that wherever you are at, God is present & eager to have fellowship with you. I believe with all of my heart that God made you for the purpose of enjoying your company in all places: whether you’re
*at home in the routines of daily living,
*in a really difficult season of life,
*swamped with an ocean of demands & responsibilities,
*going into a busy weekend
*enjoying China ,)

God loves your company!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, seeing Jesus, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

Different Ways

I’m learning some cool things with God lately & right up front please know that I’m all about knowing God & having an increasingly deeper & deeper relationship with God. With these things in mind, I’m really dialed into prayer & being with God as well as working on different ways & modes of being with God. So this morning I had some nice prayer time with God – good stillness & connecting. But for me it can be tricky to keep that “level” of fellowship in the contexts of the many demands that I have on any given day. So I was talking with God about this challenge & i felt God speak to me that our fellowship doesn’t have to decrease throughout the various activities of the day – it just changes. The morning stillness gets to be adjusted to a more conversational context – chatting about what’s happening & even maintaining a continuous stream of dialogue. Don’t let your relationship with God get boxed into suffocating expectations. God has lots of ways, methods & strategies for connecting with us & we get to say whole heartedly, “YES!!!!”

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments