Pastors I Trust

Pastors I Trust

A flock is only as good as its Shepherd.

In my last post, I talked about how important it is to face sin head-on and repent from it. It is not always easy, but choosing this journey with Jesus was always promised to be complicated. Finding a great pastor who teaches biblical truths with a little bit of humor and a lot of conviction can be a challenging task. I am constantly traveling to new places so finding a home church is almost impossible, and I am sure with Covid restrictions, many of you have not been able to attend your regular church services.

I want to share my favorite pastors that I listen to daily. These men have lead me in my walk with Jesus for years.

Pastor Todd Cook of Sagebrush Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Sagebrush is my home church and has been irreplaceable in all my travels. Sagebrush is the church my husband and I were baptized at, raised our children in, and most of our family is still in attendance. Pastor Todd is a wonderful pastor. He is the best at making you laugh until you want to pee and then driving home the message with a straight conviction that leaves you in tears. He is so passionate about Jesus and the incredible things he can do in your life. If you are not a native Burqueño, you can catch Pastor Todd’s message at Sagebrush Church online, or on Sagebrush Church on Apple Podcasts.

Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

I have always loved to listen to pastors from Calvary Chapel. Pastor Skip is the head of Albuquerque’s church. He is a fantastic teacher. Skip brings the Bible to life with his vast knowledge of historical facts, his personal experiences in Israel, and a deep understanding of biblical truths. You can listen to Calvary Church online or Connect with Skip Heitzig on Apple Podcasts.

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.  

Pastor Greg is another one of my favorite pastors. I have never visited one of his services in person, but I listen to his daily podcast. His podcast is one that I listen to every morning, whether at the gym or home. I love to start my morning with some fresh biblical perspective. Pastor Greg is known for his Harvest Revivals. He was part of the Jesus Revolution of the 1960s, and he is aiming for a new revolution and massive revival. It is interesting to hear him preach with such excitement and enthusiasm. Here is the link to Harvest online or Greg Laurie on Apple Podcasts.

It is essential to find pastors whose teachings line up with biblical truths and are not afraid to preach them. I have listened to these three pastors for years, and they have always preached the good news in a straightforward but to-the-point way that will be informative, funny, and, best of all, humbly convicting. If you can’t attend church for Resurrection Sunday, I recommend tuning in to one or all of the above to feed your soul on this special day!

Have you heard of these churches? What are some of your favorite pastors?

Tuesday Thoughts…

Tuesday Thoughts…

I have a friend in Jesus!

As you can imagine, life on the road can be lonely. Yes, it’s cool to see and live in new places, and it is great meeting some new people along the way, but sometimes it can feel like there is no real deep connection with anyone. We aren’t always at a place long, and though sometimes we get to have our travel buddies close by, sometimes it can feel like you are so far from the people who know you best.

I have been super lucky for most of the time I have been on the road. I have had travel buddies. I don’t know what I would do without these people. I am incredibly grateful for them and the friendships I have cultivated. Still, a person can get homesick, whether for the home we left behind or the people.

I am also very blessed to have this time on the road to cultivate a relationship with my Lord and Savior. Our relationship has deepened beyond what I ever imagined it could. I sometimes take Him for granted. Just the other day, I was complaining to Him about how I was missing people. Missing friendships like I used to have. Friends that were family, that knew me, that just “got me.” I used that same phrase, “got me.” Life is always changing, and I am in a different season than when I had friends around all the time. I suppose marriage, motherhood, and age all play a part in that. Covid quarantine has also played a role in furthering alienation. That is something I am sure we are all going through.

This morning, Jesus reminded me that I do still have a friend who is with me always, who listens to me complain, who loves me all the time, and who “gets me.” How dumb I feel for complaining to my very best friend about not having that when He provides me with that every day.

Sometimes we need gentle reminders so we can thank our Lord for His grace. He is so amazing. He also reminded me that I have lovely friends that I can serve in love while social distancing. I was complaining about having a cup half empty and not realizing that Jesus filled it so full it is overflowing.

I hope this can encourage someone today. I know many have been in quarantine for quite some time. Remember, you are not alone in this life. People are all around you. You need to reach out and serve in love. Also, never forget that Jesus is there as well, with open arms full of grace!

Encouragement for the Conservative Christian

Encouragement for the Conservative Christian

What would Jesus do?

We all know the phrase, I’m sure. It was a famous phrase in Christian society for quite some time. I remember rolling my eyes as a teen when my mom, who sported about five bands with WWJD printed on them, would say, “Shi, what would Jesus do?”. As a new Christian in my late twenties, I often heard this phrase from my husband, queue eye roll. But, I implore you to revisit this phrase in a time when political polarization is rising, and conservative values seem to be more blatantly under attack.

We should strive to be like Jesus. Who better than Jesus as someone should we aim to personify? Jesus approached the world in a kind, compassionate, and loving way. He loved all people and only despised the bondage of sin that held them. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, I was thinking this morning about how I am supposed to respond when someone’s demons are bothered by my light. There are two characteristics of boldness that Jesus had that we would all do well to practice, especially at times like these.

Jesus knew when to be outspokenly bold.

Let’s take a look at John 2:13-16.

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area, he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Jesus was bold and outspoken about things that were happening that were wrong. He was not going to stand by and let the money changers defile his Father’s house. Jesus was not afraid of upsetting people, even during Passover Celebration. What they were doing was wicked, and he called them out for it. We need to be bold like Jesus. As Christians, we should not let fear keep us from speaking out about things that are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. It is up to us to speak the truth in this world, lovingly, of course, but boldly.

Jesus knew when to be silently bold.

Now let’s look at Luke 23:8-12.

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)

I always used to think that not saying something would make me weak, but one of the most important lessons I learned from Jesus is how to know when to speak and when to be silent. Silence does not mean you are weak; it can be very bold. It means knowing when your words are going to fall on deaf ears. Jesus knew what kind of man Herod was. He knew Herod’s heart, and he knew he would waste his words and his time. Sometimes we have to take the ridicule and mockery. Jesus did, and he said nothing. I can picture Jesus in my mind, standing there silent. So very strong and bold.

We do not know every man’s heart as Jesus does. We cannot attempt to have this kind of wisdom and strength on our own, but we do not have to. We have the Holy Spirit, and we need His discernment. We need to surrender our fear, and we need to offer Him control of our emotions. He will let us know when to be loud and bold and when to be silent and fierce. We are not alone, we are many, and God is on our side.

Be bold, brothers and sisters!

Routine Brings Balance

Routine Brings Balance

“Your Future is Found In Daily Routine” – Paula White

In my last post, I wrote a little about my struggle with emotional detachment. I also wrote about some things I am doing to help me reconnect with my emotions. One thing that is helping me out is having a morning routine. I see many quotes about how a routine is not useful for the soul, but it is excellent for mine. I wanted to take a little bit of time and tell you more about my routine.

The first thing that is like clockwork for the hubby and me is gym time. I go to the gym three days a week, super early in the morning. I love going to the gym early in the morning, it helps me get a great start on my day, and there is no one there! It is incredible not to have to wait for machines or have tons of interruptions with people trying to talk with us. Since this is how I am beginning my day, I want to launch on the right foot. I enjoy starting my day with good teaching or preaching! I have been listening to Todd Cook from Sagebrush Church or Skip Heitzig from Calvary Chapel’s podcasts. Both churches are out of Albuquerque, NM. All my time on the road and these two hometown pastors are still my number ones!

When I get home, I have a little time to myself before the kiddos get up. The next thing I do is yoga. I have just been doing 10 to 15-minute yoga stretches every day. I do these on non-gym days too. My favorite morning yogi to follow along with has been Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube. She does a lot of short morning stretches, and they are easy to follow. Yoga has helped me to feel more connected to myself and more connected with my Lord. I think stretching our bodies and setting a positive mindset for the day is a great way to focus our minds in the morning. 

After I have worked out my muscles and stretched out my body, I like to meditate. I was using Abide to listen to a 10 to 15-minute Christian mediation, but since school has started, I am a little short on time, so I have switched to doing the daily devotional on my YouVersion bible app. They do a morning and evening devotional that has about eight slides, and it is a great way to center your mind on God’s word.

Since school has started, I haven’t had much time for the last part of my morning routine, reading. My oldest is in high school now. I haven’t mentioned it, but my daughter is no longer homeschooling. She is going to school! I am a fish out of water, and I was a mess. But you better believe I prayed about it. I asked Jesus to watch over my baby, and do you know what he said to me? He said, “that is my baby.” I was humbled. I praised Him. She is His, I trust Him with our baby. Anyways, since school has started, I haven’t been able to find time for reading, but I miss it so much. I love to read. Reading is my guilty pleasure, something for me to enjoy. Now I will have to make time somewhere else in my schedule. Starting my day by working on my physical and spiritual health has been such a tremendous help. Especially in the weird emotionless period, I have been navigating.

These are all my favorite things to do in the morning. Do you have a morning routine? What advice can you give about finding time to read?

World Meditation Day

World Meditation Day

Breath in, breath out, be at peace.

Today is World Meditation Day. So I want to share a little of how meditation fits into my family’s chaotic day. We are a large family in a tiny space- it can be loud and messy, and we travel often. One thing that we have been able to keep as a constant in our crazy lives is nightly meditation.

I have made meditation a part of the kid’s nightly routine, and they love it. I used to think mediation was just something that worldly spiritual people did, not that I have anything against that. I just never was that spiritual, and I felt silly sitting and saying mantras trying to zone out. I had no idea what meditation was. I only heard of mediation from shows or cartoons where they mocked it. When I found out that there were Christian meditations, I was very intrigued and excited to check them out.

At the time, I was having some trouble with my boys. I couldn’t get them to bed at a decent hour, and they would both get night terrors all the time. I struggled with night terrors as a child, my daughter had them when she was young, and now both my boys were going through them. I was one tired momma who was desperate to find help to resolve this issue. You might think that the night terrors are just nightmares, and the kids wake up and go back to bed, but that is not what this was. Caleb would scream, hit, kick, punch, and roll around like crazy. I couldn’t wake him up, but I could talk him down by entering into his terror. Now, Jon was another story. He would kick, punch, and scream, but he wouldn’t wake up, and he wouldn’t let me communicate with him. I would have just to let him work it out because anything I tried made it worse. So you can see that I was mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. I found the Abide meditation app on my phone, and since I was trying to get my boys on a nightly routine, I thought it would be a good idea to try it out.

I am so glad I gave this app a try. The boys loved it. The boys call it “listening to the man.” We have been listing to our nightly meditations every night for over two years. My boys go to sleep, listening to waves rolling up on to the beach and a soothing voice, reading God’s words, and praying over them. I can honestly tell you that the night terrors do not happen like they used to. Once in a great while, one of them will have an issue. Usually, if they are super tired from a long day out, but they are nothing like the terrors they used to have. My husband was skeptical at first, but even he has experienced how much meditation helps. We use it when we travel, no matter where we are. We all love it! We do our meditation lying in bed, taking in deep breaths, and listening to the soothing voice and sounds. I have tried to incorporate mediation into other parts of our day, but we all like to wind down at night.

There are many different meditation apps out there; we use the Abide app as I mentioned before. There are various subscription plans available with the app. I am not getting paid to, but the app has worked so well for us, I recommend it to anyone interested in Christian meditation. They have daily mediations and a journaling option as well as nightly meditations and prayers. Meditation has done wonders for us if you haven’t tried mediation yet, what better day to start than World Meditation Day!