You don’t need fancy words to pray. You don’t need to follow a formula. The only thing necessary for prayer is you talking to your heavenly Father. If you don’t even have the words, your thought of “God, I need You to fix me.” is powerful prayer.

Lee Younger on episode 70 of the Say That Podcast

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What Comes After Forgiveness?

Anonymous asked:

what comes after forgiveness? by way of context for the question, i’ve lately had a number of conversations with people – friends who have forgiven cheating exes, who have forgiven violent fathers, who have forgiven offensive and unthought-out comments from boyfriends. i myself have forgiven (and am forgiving) a father who cheated. the question has been the same in each situation – how do we act after forgiving people? do we get back together with them? do we pretend nothing happened? thanks 🙂

I answered:

This is a fantastic question. A lot of Christians just throw around the idea of forgiveness without actually thinking about what it means to live that out. Kudos to you and your friends for having the faith and courage to dig below the surface on forgiveness.

Before we get to what comes after forgiveness, lets take a look at how we get there. Forgiveness is the end of a process. That process normally includes some anger, maybe some crying, a certain amount of “I don’t want to look at your stupid face” time. All that is okay, and even necessary.

You can’t just skip straight to forgiveness without dealing with the emotional reality of what happened. That doesn’t work. If you just pretend that you aren’t angry or hurt instead of actually working through them, then the forgiveness is just an act and it will eventually give out. Forgiveness is a very different thing than denial.

Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” That’s true and good advice. One thing about that verse to notice is that it is the very last verse of the chapter. Paul talks about not letting the sun go down on your anger, which acknowledges that you will feel anger. He says in your anger, don’t sin, which lets us know that feeling anger is not a sin. Forgiveness comes at the end of that processing.

So once you have worked through and landed on forgiveness, now what? An excellent and important question. The answer varies from case to case. Obviously moving past an insensitive comment from a boyfriend is very different than with an abusive parent. 

At it’s core forgiveness is about setting you free from holding onto bitterness and hate that will eat away at you. Not every relationship is meant to be restored. Sometimes you forgive and move on. Just because you forgive the ex who cheated doesn’t mean you have to get back together with them. That is something to get wisdom from God about.

One thing to remember in that process is this: forgiveness is given, but trust is earned. If the other party has but no effort into making changes in order to restore the relationship, you don’t owe it to them to put in all the work. If they are willing to apologize, acknowledge what was wrong, and take steps towards making it better, then you can take it a step at the time. 

God is with you in that process and we are here for you as well. It is a journey and you will need to get wisdom from God throughout it.

 

-Matt from The Bridge

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What if we looked at the Christian life this way: The Holy Spirit is drawing all people closer to Himself, and yet, not all of us are moving forward in intimacy with God. So, clearly, we’re getting stuck on something.

If that’s a Biblical view of things (and it is – see John 12:32 and the surrounding chapter), then ministry is really about removing those obstacles that keep us from being closer to God.

from the May Bridge Box devotional

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Episode 70 of Say That is up!

How do you pray when you are going through a hard time? How does a girl let a guy know she is interested in him? How do you offer help to a friend who is going through a tough break up?

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Being the Only Believer in Your Family

Anonymous asked:

I’ve been a Christian for just over two years now, but I live in a non-Christian household. We don’t discuss it, but I know my parents don’t approve when I go to church or Christian events. I really feel like this is holding me back, as there are so many things I’d love to do for Jesus which I feel I can’t because of my parents’ reaction. I know it’s not their fault, it’s mine for not having the guts to tell them what I want to do. How can I overcome this and follow God’s best plan for me?

I answered:

I can certainly relate to your situation. I accepted the Lord at 16 at a YoungLife camp. My parents did not (and still don’t) identify as Christians, and both had pretty bad experiences with churches and Christians growing up. The good news is that the situation gets better with time. Both because you become more independent from your parents, so their disapproval just doesn’t mean as much; and because they will see that this is something important to you.

You mention that they don’t actually say anything but you know they don’t approve. Even if it’s true that they don’t approve, they may not actually be giving you as much pushback as you think. This is possibly the first major life thing where you and parents have been on totally different pages, so it makes sense that you don’t have a lens to view it through.

I can’t speak for everyone, but my life got a lot easier when I started giving my parents the benefit of the doubt as opposed to looking for persecution in everything they did. It is worth taking a long hard look at what is actually being said and how much is your perception. There may well be some real tension, and it’s easier to deal with when you get emotion out of the way.

Remember, the worst they can say is ‘no.’ So maybe ask and find where the line is. This is a blessing in a way (which I know is difficult to think about), because you have to think about what is legit in a way that people in super churchy families never do. 

If you tell your parents you want to go serve the hungry with your church, they will probably respect that desire to serve. They may have some safety concerns, which makes sense and your church should have considered and be able to speak to. If, however, you want $600 for a ticket to the super duper “Aren’t We The Most Awesome Christians Ever? Let’s Get Together and Talk About Our Awesomeness” conference, that may be a much harder sell. That is a microcosm of the way people outside the church see things.

1 Timothy 3:7 says that one of the important things for Christians is their reputation with outsiders. The outsiders are in your own home. That gives you an important view of all the ‘christianese” stuff that is out there. Don’t see that as a hindrance. And remember not to always assume the worst about others, even your folks.

-Matt from The Bridge

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Theology, and theologians, tend to work in ideals. They are very good at telling you how it should be. Telling you how to get there, however, is something theology cannot do. That is the function of ministry. It is important not to get the two mixed up.

Matt King on episode 69 of the Say That podcast

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