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Jesus was a refugee.

We can’t claim to be a Christian nation if Jesus wouldn’t even be allowed within our borders.

Yep, I said it.

Abraham was a refugee. Esther was a refugee. Jacob was a refugee. Moses was a refugee. David was a refugee. JESUS WAS A REFUGEE.

(For more context, check these out: Refugees in the Bible, #FamiliesBelongTogether and )

Self-proclaimed Christians are using their faith to ban people from the United States that The Bible so clearly embraces.

Think of the Good Samaritan.

Be a good neighbor who has mercy on those that are different from you. (Luke 10:25-37)

When people are hungry, feed them. (Isaiah 58:7)

When they are naked, clothe them. (Matthew 25:36)

When they are a stranger, welcome them. (Matthew 25:25)

We are called to love the strangers, the orphans and the widows. Shoot, those very people are at the center of almost EVERY Bible story.

DANIEL was displaced by exile into Babylon (Daniel 1:2‐4,6). JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH  were displaced by political persecutionto Egypt  (Matthew 2:13‐14). THE EARLY CHURCH  was displaced by religious persecution  (Acts 8:1). AQUILA AND PRISCILLA were displaced by ethnic persecution (Acts 18:1-2). JOSEPH was displaced by international human trafficking (Genesis 37:28). ALL OF ISRAEL was displaced from an oppression into the wilderness (Exodus 12:41).

Need I continue?

God’s heart is for the stranger to find a home. In fact, Jesus’ story was orchestrated in a way that His parents had to leave the country so their son could have a safe place to grow up and become the Messiah He was destined to be.

Our faith would have no foundation if there was no country to welcome Jesus in with open arms.

So please, have God’s heart for His children. Don’t get caught up in the hate rhetoric that does not align with His Word.

Let’s actively love our neighbors. It is what’s right and it is our greatest command. And guess what? There are no exceptions to that rule.

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Relationship > Experience

This one goes out to all my church kids who grew up in Sunday School and youth camps.

Yes, you.

Do you remember all the great experiences you had during the high intensity services? After a youth camp, you’d be on a spiritual high. You would walk with your head held high and shoulders squared, feeling unstoppable and unashamed of your faith.

What if I told you those experiences were not reserved for just you? And what if I elaborated and said that there was something bigger and better than those experiences?

Those on-top-of-Mount Sinai experiences only lasted a few weeks. In the most routine fashion, things would go back to normal. People would stop going to church until the next “wave of revival.” And all the fire and momentum of the experience faded in the distance. It’s quite heartbreaking, actually.

I was reading 1 John 4:7-21 and something dawned on me. In the Message version, 1 John 4:7 says, “Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God.” In other words, all people, whether they are a Christian or not, are children of God and have already experienced some type of relationship with God, whether they knew it or not.

So wait, when the scripture says “everyone,” does that mean that this passage isn’t speaking to just Christians? Yes! Sometimes we think that the Bible is reserved for Christians only, but it’s not. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s not the well that need a doctor, but the sick, remember?

But I digress, 1 John 4:7 highlights the fact that if you love (which includes pretty much everyone in the world), you are able to experience a relationship with God. Everyone has that ability. So although the youth camp praise breaks and Sunday School revivals seem revolutionary in the moment, they’re actually something that pretty much everyone can experience. Since God is the originator of love, everyone that acts in love has experienced God to some extent.

Mind-blowing, I know. But it gets better.

If we move on to verse 16, it says that “Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God.”

Aha! So here’s the difference between experiencing God and having an intimate relationship with Him: Confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It’s simple. Anyone can experience God, but only those that confess and accept that Jesus is God’s Son (and their subsequent need of Him) can have a continual and eternal relationship with God. Relationship is how you sustain the experiences.

I don’t know about you, but I know that experiences can fade away. I’m thankful for them, but I don’t just want a taste of what it’d be like to fully know God, I want the whole thing. I’ll take a relationship over an experience any day.

But here’s the thing: Relationships take work. Real hard work. It’s not something you just try and then when it gets hard, you walk away. It’s not something that you see the results of right away either.

Sometimes talking to God seems like a real labor of love. Sometimes it seems like He’s not listening. Sometimes you just won’t feel like spending time with Him. And other times, you just won’t even want to claim Him in front of your friends. Get this: You might even go through seasons where you break up. You don’t think that what you have with Him is real and so you just take a break and ask yourself some really deep, thought-provoking questions. And it’s all okay!

Yes, I’m letting you know that it’s okay to doubt and it’s okay to fail – That’s how relationships work. If you don’t have rough patches, then how would you know for certain that you are in the right relationship? Like how would you relationship actually be “tested and tried?” It’s those relationships, that are the most beautiful. Those that have been through hell and back, but still end up together because it just seems right. Because the love between them is the realest thing they’ve ever felt. Because they’re the only person they can fully trust. Because even when they were a hot mess, the other person never left their side. And that’s why I’d choose a relationship every time. It’s a lot harder to sustain, but it’s the most worthwhile thing ever.

Selah. 

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3D Vision

Vision boards are all the craze recently and there’s good reason for it. Writing, drawing, or pasting your vision down on something tangible makes your vision more clear and real. It’s your way of saying, “These are MY goals and they WILL be accomplished.” When setting goals it’s important to make them specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. Below are some more ways to transform your regular, old 2D resolutions into an epic 3D vision.

1. DEVELOP both long-term and short-term goals.

Yes, you may want to be an entrepreneur in the long term, but what’s one way you can start on that goal today? What can you accomplish that gets you one step closer to where you want to be? In order to answer these fully, develop 1-year, 5-year and 10-year plans for yourself — personally and professionally.

2. DEEM nothing impossible.

If you’re flipping through a a magazine to paste clippings onto your vision board and stumble across something that makes your heart best a little faster, tear that whole page out without even thinking twice. You’re allowed to dream big dreams. Your vision is actually where your dreams flourish. To complement your big dreams, you need to start developing a plan to get there.  Don’t let your current state stop you from envisioning a different future.

3. DESIGNATE time towards your vision.

Writing in your journal about your future plans is great. However, you still need to take some action to realize that goal.

Meet with an accountability buddy that will build you up and streamline your vision with you once a month. Remind yourself of where you want to be daily. Pray about it constantly. Check off the progress you make. Create a  new challenge each week that will help you better yourself and move towards your goal.

Make moves, people! Write your vision and make it plain. The only person holding you back from where you want to be is you.