the fight for joy (Brooke)

I v e r y often forget.  I forget that life is a gift.  That we are here on purpose. on mission.  I forget that God gave me this moment. and also this moment.  I forget that eternity & souls is what it is all about. & not me.  I forget that people and love and serving is the very heart of God.  I just forget.  

 I forget & easily choose:
selfishness –over & over & over again
my schedule
my plans
my dreams
not moving towards my neighbors
seeing the day as mundane.

And when I do this I miss SO much.  I miss what God could do. wants to do through me.  I miss seeing things from His perspective.  I miss a better story.  

I’m praying today that I will yield to His dreams for my life and enjoy this DAY He has given me- the only 4/10/14 we will ever have.  It’s a gift.  I am praying that I will choose joy & not grumpiness.  laughter & not bitterness.  

John Piper shares 15 ways to Fight for JOY–I find them incredibly helpful:
1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.
4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt – how to fight like a justified sinner.
5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.
6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.
8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.
10. Be patient in the night of God’s seeming absence.
11. Get the rest, exercise, and proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.
12. Make a proper use of God’s revelation in nature.
13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).
15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached.

Can they see You in me? (Lindsay)

My older brother just produced his second album and I’m a big fan (I receive no funding for saying any of this!). His latest album has a track called “Like You,” and after hearing it for the first time, it instantly became my favorite. I think the song stood out to me because the lyrics resonated with what I long to be true of me, but where I often feel so not up-to-par: being like Jesus to the world around me. The chorus struck me because it could easily be a prayer, my prayer – a simple, yet transformational one, much like the one Bill Bright prayed (the prayer can be found by scrolling down on the prayer & mission page).

 Your heart, beating,in my chest, All I wantis to be like youYour mind, thinking, in my head, all i wanna see me like you. your will, walked out,in my steps,all i wanna see me like you,Jesus.

Then there’s the bridge, oh the bridge of this song is the best! You should really hear it to get the full effect, but suffice it to say that the whole sound changes (thanks to some skillful work in the studio), breaking it down to emphasize these few lines:

 No one has ever seen God
but they can see me, let them see You in me.

Those words ring in my head and heart each time I listen to them. I am reminded yet again of the beauty of the Christian life, friends. We don’t have to be super-humans, or extraordinary Christians, or try to be perfect witnesses to those around us. There is actually no “have to” in the equation at all. The very essence of a true Christian is one who has a changed heart and has the Holy Spirit living in them. As the song says, we get to have Jesus’ heart, a new heart, we get to have the mind of Christ, and we get to be a part of God’s will. The spirit of our Savior King is living in and through us. It is true that no one has ever seen God, but wow, what an honor that He would choose people like you and me to show Himself to the world! 

As Cru staff, we desire that both we ourselves and our students would be so in love with Jesus that His life would continue to be lived out through us. I want my neighbors, my family, the Target cashier, students on campus, the homeless guy at the end of my street, and others to see God in me. I want your friends, classmates, roommates, coworkers, and others to see an imperfect person with God inside of them. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have the highest honor of being Jesus’ Ambassador, God’s representative to the world. So, stop trying so hard to do it all right, and start praying for Jesus to make you like Him. Part of being Jesus to those around us must include (but is by no means limited to) us opening our mouths, fearfully or not, and letting His name and His words come out before others. People are going to encounter the living God when they interact with you.

Shameless plug: If you’re interested in adding a new (and awesome!) album to your playlist, then go to iTunes and look up Erik Brown, Give It All (or click here:! You won’t regret it. 🙂 

{You Loved My Heart to Death} (Heather)

I just wanted to share a song with you all that I’ve loved recently. It’s called “You Loved My Heart to Death” by Shane & Shane. You can listen to it using the link below as well as see some of my favorite lyrics.

Check it out:

I drank the cup of death
It’s running through my veins
I chose my pride instead
Of the glory of Your name
[All the wrath of God that 
I deserve with every breath]
Fell upon Him
And He loved my heart to death

It’s easy to say we believe that Jesus really loves us this much (especially when you’ve walked with God for a long time and we know it’s what we are supposed to believe), but I hope you spend some time really reflecting on that truth tonight.

He loves you–deeply, personally, and sacrificially.