Nothing Is Too Messy For Jesus // Debbie // CNU

Fear. Shame. Guilt. Loneliness. Need to control.

It’s a constant battle. These are all things I so badly needed to give to God, but wouldn’t. I’ve been so blinded by my sin that I’ve started to view things in ways that were not of Him. I found myself wanting to grow closer to Jesus, but not wanting to surrender my old ways. I found myself living a life that was half in and half out. I found myself not trusting in His plans for my life because I had this skewed perspective that my plans were better than God’s plans.

Little did I know…

Last year around September, every time someone would talk about summer mission with Cru my heart would start pounding out of my chest and my cheeks would turn bright red. I quickly pushed that aside because I already had plans of working all summer. Then I went to fall retreat where I heard more about summer missions, but I didn’t want to deal with raising support. So with that, I pushed it aside once again. Then I went to winter conference and heard more about summer missions and slowly began to pray about it. After about 3 months of saying no to God about summer missions, there I was in front of my computer screen looking through all the different locations.

Fast forward six months and I am in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with 30 strangers who quickly turned into my best friends. The month of June was a life-changing month. I was challenged, loved, and encouraged.

You see, for the longest time I tried to carry the weight of sin on my own and thought I could just go about my day as long as no one knew about it. Up until Jackson Hole, I had been walking in darkness alone because I feared judgment and condemnation.

Externally I was “pursuing Jesus whole-heartedly” and “living an obedient life,” but my heart? My heart had strayed so far from Him that I began to lose sight of His goodness and provision. I desired to trust Him fully, but I was too afraid to surrender my old ways, idols, and hopes for the future.

This reminds me of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 and how similar I am to her when it comes to trusting God. When God was preparing to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He sent angels and “one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” (v.17). Instead of being obedient, Lot’s wife chose disobedience by turning to look back at her homeland and turned into a pillar of salt. And just like Lot’s wife in this passage, I wasn’t putting faith in what God wanted me to surrender to Him.

I chose to hold on to my lack of patience, idol of marriage, need to control, and selfishness instead of giving it to Him.

It’s easy to fall back into old ways of doing things and putting God on a backburner. It’s easy to get caught up in shame and forget that Jesus sees past our mess.

Nothing is too messy for Jesus.

We don’t have to be overwhelmed by our sin because He has already taken it to the cross. We don’t have to feel ashamed of our past because we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because of Jesus we are clean and set free from the bondage of sin. Instead of hiding from God we should be running toward Him to lay everything down at His feet because He has overcome it all. He died the death that we deserve.

Pause and go listen to this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REZ_OI0Yku8.

There’s something so beautiful about surrendering your brokenness that brings you to a place of intimacy and vulnerability with Jesus.

When I came across Psalm 116:1-9 the other day I was filled with joy because this passage is such a beautiful representation of redemption. Instead of allowing your heart and mind to be damaged by the words of the world, learn and choose to see yourself through the eyes of Jesus, who calls us daughter, son, beloved, chosen, bride, work of art, and more.

This summer has wrecked my heart in a beautiful way. Say “yes” to everything He calls you to do even if you don’t want to, because our plans will always fail. And be joyful knowing that our plans will fail because we serve a God who is all-knowing.

Ah… How sweet it is that we get to wake up to new mercies every morning and how sweet it is to have confidence in His plans.

You guys… following Jesus is such a wonderful adventure.

Hey guys! My name is Debbie and I am a junior at Christopher Newport University pursuing a degree in Business Marketing. I really enjoy watching God paint new colors in the sky every morning and every night, it’s one of my favorite things! I also love Ellen DeGeneres with a passion and it’s on my life bucket list to go to her show and scare her. My forever go-to look would be a midi dress and sandals with my hair up in a bun and a cute headband. Some of my other favorite things include my mom, pup, Jesus jams, Grand Tetons, hugs, wildflowers, and quality time. Currently I am going through a sweet sweet season of admiring my Savior and being adorned by my Savior.
@debbieanthony1

Heart over Sacrifice//Emma//VCU

This summer has been one of refinement and learning God’s true heart and character. I am a do-er and since becoming a Christian a little over a year ago I get caught up in works. Constantly feeling like I must repay God for what he has done for me and proving that I am worthy of his love and attention by what I do. After “giving my summer to the Lord” I expected to be in a state of spiritual bliss all summer – sitting in Jesus’s lap and enjoying his presence because “look at me God, I chose to serve you this summer.”

I did not realize this was my mindset until about half way through my summer mission with Cru[in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire] when I was plagued by spiritual dryness and just feeling burnt out. I was envious of the girls I was with as they shared how their intimacy with the Lord was growing and growing. “Lord, why? My quiet times have been extra long, I spent extra time on the beach for outreach, I prepared extra for Bible study, I don’t give in to (insert sin struggle here), etc” I thought.  Then I remembered  Luke 10:41 “Martha, Martha…” I immediately blocked that out because I didn’t want to hear it, and Martha might as well be my middle name.

As the summer progressed God continually brought me to a place where I had no choice but walk by the Spirit. After continually trying to earn his love and constantly failing he taught me to press into his grace. He taught me that he wants my heart over my sacrifices. He wants surrender not perfection. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”. I can give all away and do all that I can but God cares about my heart. Not only that but he blesses me according to his grace not according to my performance. He loves me because that’s who he is and he loves me despite my prideful attitude this summer. Falling in love with Jesus feels like actual falling sometimes but this summer has taught me to love freely and rest in his grace.

 


emma

 

Hey all! My name is Emma and I am currently a second-semester “super” junior. Meaning I am old and should be a senior by now but life happened so here we are. I am an Exercise Science Major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I am a lover of Jesus, fitness and anything that has to do with peanut butter. I am currently training for my next powerlifting competition and I absolutely love how the Lord has used it so powerfully to teach me perseverance through set backs. I also spend most of my time discovering the endless quirks of Richmond with my best friend Roxy, who just happens to be a Doberman.

Something Bigger // JESUS Film // Meg

Last month I was in Orlando & I had the chance to visit & tour Cru’s international headquarters.  Did you know that Cru is part of a larger missions organization praying, reaching every society in corner of the world? Outside of our local Cru movements & Bible studies & discipleship, we have thousands of Cru movements on campuses all over the US.  Then there are thousands of Cru movements at campuses around the world! And that’s just part of our campus ministry.  Add on to that the number of people involved with other Cru ministries reaching military, high schoolers, families, businesspeople, planting churches, even Olympic athletes… the list goes on and on.

I was reminded that we are part of something so much bigger.

The same week that I was touring our headquarters, I hopped onto Facebook & read two encouraging posts made by two girls who are in our Cru movement at VCU.  Both of them are traveling internationally this summer in different countries in Africa sharing the gospel, loving people, praying… it’s been beautiful to watch from afar [and their pictures are incredible… God is the best artist!].

As it so happens, both girls got to experience one branch of Cru called the JESUS film. It’s the story of Jesus through Luke – a film that has been shown for 35+ years, translated into 1200 languages, and one that has been used to share the gospel with hundreds of millions of people & on record, they know of at least 200 million people who have given their lives to Jesus as a result of this film.  Every word that Jesus speaks in the film is a direct quote from Scripture. It’s incredible.

JESUS Film

Photo from Sarah’s blog [linked below]

BOTH girls – on summer mission trips with two different organizations – had the opportunity to show the film to people who had [maybe] never heard the gospel before.  Both girls got to experience the story of Jesus in  the heart language of those who watched the film.  Both girls saw people come to Christ as a result.  Two different countries. Same gospel. Lives changed.

I wanted to share with you Kayla wrote in a blogpost reflecting on showing this film because it impacted me so greatly.  She writes:

During our last night there we had a showing of The Jesus Film. Quick side note about this connection- I’m a part of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) at VCU and that film is a project of the ministry as a whole, all around the world. I had no idea [this organization] showed the film until we arrived in the community so I was pleasantly surprised to hear I would be able to experience it, even though I’m not directly a part of a Cru Summer Mission right now. The film is the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told (imagine Passion of the Christ, but the PG version). The coolest thing about this film is its adaptation to the different cultures around the world. It has been translated into countless languages so the people of Maubone could experience the most incredible story ever told in their native language, Tswana.

Even though I had never seen the film, I knew the story. I’ve known the story for practically my whole life so I went into the viewing with the mindset of simply focusing on praying for the members of this community while they watched. It wasn’t until one of the first miracles was shown and the members began cheering and clapping that I realized- we should never become numb to this story. Making the blind see, raising the dead to life, being whipped for sins He never committed, nailed to a cross, and coming back from the dead to welcome us with open arms. Us, the very ones who nailed Him to the tree by our actions. As the film went on they didn’t stop reacting because to many of them, this was all new. And even to the ones who knew the story, they didn’t sit in silence. They felt the pain of their Savior. They felt the joy when He rose from the dead.

Beautiful. Yes.

This is the story that we’re part of. This is something bigger.

To see the behind the scenes area where the film is translated, prayed over, updated… and then to know that that same week, Sarah & Kayla both had the chance to put what I saw into practice & reach dozens of people with the message of the gospel… I’m reminded of the grace & sovereignty of God.

How cool is it that he allows us to join in on something so much greater with him. Sharing the gospel, here in the United States, overseas in a village that no one has ever heard of, it doesn’t matter.  We’re part of something bigger.

As you close out your summer & look ahead to this year, what might you trust God for? What’s your something bigger that you can be a part of? Maybe you’re looking ahead to next summer, thinking that this summer wasn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Consider [already] going on a summer mission trip, giving a few weeks to share the gospel [& have fun] – internationally. Maybe you’re looking ahead to after graduation. You can be a part of sharing the gospel for a few months, for a year. Cru has internships & you could introduce students to Jesus in the US, or you can go internationally… you can even give a year to travel the world with JESUS film & be a part of seeing the unreached come to know their Savior.

I’m praying for you as the summer winds down & life starts to gear up again. We get so lost & so narrow-focused on the here & now that we too often forget that God has called us to more.  What’s the more he has for you? Ask him & listen.