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?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Do you have the moxie?

You do not have to be a conspiracy theorist or a paranoid lunatic to see that the world is in the midst of transformation, be it spiritual or political. Fundamentally our world is changing. Politics around the globe are in shambles. Climate and natural disasters have been increasingly evolving and steadily rising. Religious persecution is happening worldwide, and those of us with religious freedoms recognize the beginnings of oppression. Now, I know there have always been “signs of the end times,” and I am not trying to sound like one of those soapbox preachers on the street corner, but I can’t help but think that in these strange times, I am so glad to have Jesus by my side!

Jesus is the only reason that I haven’t lost my sanity. Now, I have to admit I get angry at how we Americans approach Christianity. I can see that we are often missing one of the main points. We often overlook the weight of sin and the hefty price Jesus paid for us to be free from our bondage. We do not fully recognize the significance of what it means to be a Christian. We can go to church once a week and put in our time, and continue living our lives the way we want. 

So what does it mean to be a Christian? Well, the word Christian means little Christ. When you ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life and invite The Holy Spirit to dwell within you, you become a child of God. Your body is now the temple that houses The Holy Spirit. He is there to guide you in the transformation that is about to take place. With the Holy Spirit now leading your life, changes should commence. Our inward faith should be an outward expression. James 2:14 says, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?”

The Holy Spirit will search your heart and life and start pointing out the parts that do not align with His character. We should also be reading the Bible to learn how to live out God’s principles. It is essential to know what the Bible says about sin and repent from the evils in our life. Jesus loves us so much that he died a gruesome, humiliating death to cover our sins and give us eternal life with Him.

A lie has been peddled to many Christians that Jesus is not concerned with our sin, that He wants us to be happy. It mortifies me that people believe this because it completely discounts everything my Lord and Savior did on that cross. Let me assure you, Jesus is far more concerned with your character than your happiness.

If you have decided to accept Jesus into your life, God dwells within you! How amazing is that? So please, find pastors that preach the truth about sin, read your bibles, and know that Jesus loves you where you are, but he loves you too much to leave you there!

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!

Time with Jesus Everyday

Time with Jesus Everyday

Save the date!

My husband sometimes jokes that there is another man in my life, I tell him, yep, his name is Jesus! Spending time reading his word and learning to apply it to my life is one of my favorite things to do, but I know all too well when life gets busy, it can sometimes feel like it is just another thing on my to-do list. Here are a few tricks I recommend if you are having the same issue.

  • Carve out time when you can focus on Jesus. One on one time is the foundation of a relationship. It is also something a relationship needs to grow. If you aren’t getting quality time in a relationship, it is bound to shrivel up and die. Just like you need quality time with your spouse, family, and friends, you will need quality time with Jesus. That means uninterrupted time reading his word, praying, and listening.
  • Put your phone away. You wouldn’t pull out your phone to text a friend or scroll Facebook when you are on a date, at least I hope not. So it would be best if you didn’t do those things when you are spending time with Jesus. I know that I use my phone bible app, which can make this a little tricky. You may need to go old school and pull out that dusty old bible in the back of your closet, so you arent tempted to switch that bible app over to see what that notification was!
  • Find a time when no one else is awake. Everyone is different. I like to have my mornings with Jesus, some people like evenings with Jesus. You want uninterrupted time so choose a time that no one else will be coming in and taking your attention away from Him. Be open to change if you’re going to do evenings, but you know you are tired at the end of the day, try to meet Him in the morning. 
  • Make an appointment on your calendar. It is easy to put off things we do not plan to do. I think to myself all the time,” I’d like to spend time with Jesus today,” and then never get to it because I get busy and never actually planned to do so. If you plan for it, mark out the time in your calendar, you are more likely to keep your appointment. It’s in the calendar, its a date!
  • Journal to Jesus. I don’t think kids do this anymore, but growing up, we always wrote letters to our friends. Even though we saw them all day at school, it was fun to keep in touch with each other when we were apart. This year, I started journaling letters to Jesus, Aside from my prayer time. I love doing this first thing in the morning, after yoga and meditating on his word, I write a letter to Jesus in my journal and thank him for the day and any imparticular things I want to pray about that morning. Somedays I write three pages, somedays I write a half-page. It doesn’t have to be a long-drawn-out essay, just a simple thanks for this day, bless this day, let me feel your presence today. Doing this has helped me personalize and deepen my relationship with him.

It is easy to forget about Jesus if we do not think of Him as a real person. Could you imagine telling your best friend that you would spend time with them later today at some point and then ghosting them? Could you imagine doing that to your spouse or children? Jesus is real, and He is waiting for you. He is the one appointment you should never miss because what He has for you is so good, it is food for your soul. So, this brings me to our last tip!

  • Notify Jesus. Make it a point to let him know when you can’t make the appointment and reschedule, just like you would anyone else. He is always available and ready when you are! When you start treating Jesus like a real friend, you will find that you are willing to make more effort to spend quality time with him!

If you are struggling in your relationship with Jesus, I hope these tips can help! Let me know if you try any of them, and how they helped you! 

Connecting With God

Connecting With God

Overcoming Spiritual Roadblocks.

Do you ever feel like you are having trouble connecting with God? Do you feel like you are doing everything you are supposed to do, but it feels empty? Do you feel like God doesn’t even hear you? Looking back on my journey as a Christian, I can see some roadblocks that occurred that may have stalled my growth. If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have a few things you can try that may help!

  • Be Emotionally Open and Honest with God. Opening up emotionally was so hard for me. I live my life in a safe little bubble. I do not open up to people much, if at all. I carried this habit into my relationship with God at the beginning of my walk with Him. I knew he knew everything about me, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go over the details. I was wrong; He wanted me to. I needed to. Once I surrendered and told him everything I had done, even though He knew, we had a new closeness. He had become a confidant, a friend, my Jesus. Though Jesus knows everything we have ever done and paid the price for it, he wants you to share it with Him so he can heal you. You have got to confess your sin. You can’t brush it under the rug and ignore it. It will just sit there and keep resurfacing. Once you confess your sins to Jesus, He can heal you and help you clean it out so it won’t come back!
  • Rethink Prayer. Prayer can be tough to master, especially if you are new in your faith. Growing up, I attended Catholic mass occasionally. Catholic prayer, for me, was mechanical and repetitive. Going from that to a Christian church was such a contrast. Prayer in the Christian church scared me. It was loud and emotional. They used churchy words, and some even flailed their arms around. I was so confused about how I should pray because I didn’t feel like my prayers were spiritual enough. I had to flip the word in my head from prayer to conversation. Whatever your background is with prayer, Jesus wants to hear from us. Jesus doesn’t care if you are saying repetitive chants or using spiritual churchy words. He only wants us to talk to Him. If you use those words, cool, but if you don’t, that is cool too. Tell Him what makes you sad, the bible says he grieves with us. Tell Him what makes you happy, the bible says he rejoices with us. Tell Him what’s stressing you out, the bible says to give him your worries, and he will provide you with peace. Talk to Him about your day, your decisions, everything, just talk to Him!
  • Don’t Compartmentalize Jesus. It can be so easy to keep Jesus secluded to your bible study or prayer time, but he’s with you all the time. Try talking to Him throughout the day. Let Him infiltrate your whole life. Find ways to remind your self He is there. I heard Pastor Greg Laurie talking about how he uses his Apple Watch Breathe reminders to remember Jesus throughout the day. I loved this idea, and now every time my watch tells me to breathe, I take a minute and say thank you for something I am grateful for at that moment. I don’t always have time to do the full minute of the breathing exercise, but it is still a reminder that He is there with me at that moment, and I always send up a quick thank you!

These are just a few things I would recommend trying out if you are having some connection issues in your walk with Jesus. Keep in mind that the relationship you are building with Jesus is unique, so do not compare yours with anyone else’s. Give yourself some grace and keep trying, if you are genuinely trying to cultivate a relationship with Him, know that He is ready and excited to guide you through your roadblocks right into His loving arms!

Wisdom From Paul

Wisdom From Paul

Christ over comfort.

As you all know, I started my first year in Bible Study Fellowship this year. I have always wanted to participate in BSF but since we travel at the drop of a dime to places that are usually out in the middle of nowhere, I have never been able to join. Now that they offer online classes I have been able to connect with a wonderful group of ladies from all over the US. It’s so nice to have a time of online fellowship. Luckily, since we are online, we haven’t skipped a beat with this whole COVID-19 pandemic going on. This year we have been studying Acts of the Apostles. This book has been such a phenomenal blessing to me in so many ways.

Seeing the boldness of Paul as he faces his trials and setbacks and continuously preaches the Gospel amazes me. Let me first say how much hope he gives me when he tells his testimony as a Pharisee who was a persecutor of Christians and now because of his vision on the road to Damascus is one of the most blazingly bold evangelists in the Bible. To see how God used Paul and to think of the ways He could use me if I only let him blows my mind.

During this time I have also been homeschooling my daughter and we have been using a bible curriculum called Wise Up, Wisdom in Proverbs. Doing these two studies at the same time has been amazing. I cannot tell you how much bible study has affected my life. I am in such a better place mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than I ever have been. I already take care of my physical needs by eating healthy and working out but being in the word and learning to apply it to my life has just fed my soul.

Since I have been learning and teaching I felt I should be sharing some of what I am learning. I have answered the call to reach out and teach a class to my sisters-in-law and my daughter who all live in New Mexico. I am teaching the Wise Up class online. This was a big step for me because I am a creature of comfort. I like my comfort zone and I had tons of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it. I am so busy homeschooling my other three, I will neglect my blog, I won’t have any time for me. Paul has taught me that this life is not about my comfort. It is not about me. God kept nudging and I kept putting him off until I realized I cannot ignore Him anymore. The quote from our lecture in BSF that hit me the hardest was, “A courageous witness chooses godly obedience over personal comfort.” God is not calling me out to the masses, at least not yet. He wasn’t expecting me to minister out of a jail cell or at the threat of persecution. He was asking me to minister to my baby girl and my sisters out of the comfort of my home.

Someday I may have to face more uncomfortable situations for my Lord, but what he is calling me to do now is a no brainer. I have had to move some things around in my day and I have not been able to get to my blog. I don’t write blogs ahead of time so I am sorry if I have been MIA. I am a fly by the seed of my pants kind of woman these days, lol. I have had to miss a few weeks on my blog and have had to prioritize a little more of my time to get the class up and running, but I am still here. I am so excited to see Jesus at work in these girls and I am also excited to see the work He is doing in me as well! I will keep you all posted on how this all works out, Pray for us!