Warning: this is not for the faint of heart
As I was walking the streets of my neighborhood, carrying my groceries (yay for L.A. street parking…but, hey, it helps me reach my daily fit bit goal for the day), I started talking to God. As I looked up at the sky and watched the cars drive on by, something hit me. You know those truths that hit you so hard in the gut (metaphorically speaking, of course), and you have to stop in your tracks to just regain breath. Yeah, that’s what happened.
“You are found. You don’t have to feel like you are still lost.”
Luke 15:31-32 states, “Son (daughter), you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad…he (she) is alive; he was lost, and is found.”
When you become a Christian, there may be many times when you stumble off course, but the truth of God’s love (we were bought at a high and mighty price!) demonstrates that when we made the decision to be water baptized and take on the name of Christ, we were adopted forever.
This is what Jesus has been whispering to me and He whispers the same to you.
“You are always with me, even when it feels like you aren’t with me. You are found, even when you may feel lost. You are loved even when you feel unlovable, even when you can’t understand the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. You have been found so that you may tell those who are lost that they are loved, that they are heard, that they are seen, that they are searching for something that only I can give them.”
On Wednesday, I had the cool opportunity of getting to go to a live taping of NBC’s The Voice. The agency I work for is the main sponsor of The Voice, so advertising life definitely has it’s benefits. Before the show, I sat in one of the judges chair, marvelled at the behind the scenes of the studio, and watched as pre-production took place. During the show, we cheered and clapped and stood up and down so many times I felt like I was in a boot camp class. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a cool experience. Yet, afterwards, as I drove home, I felt overwhelmed and depressed. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt defeated and frustrated.
In Hollywood, on Instagram, in the Arts industry, etc, there is this longing to be discovered, to be found. We live in a day and age that is all about self expression and “finding yourself.” We chase fame. We chase the void. We put on a facade and hope that we will be recognized. Yet, at the end of the day, when we are behind closed doors, we let down our guards and confess that we feel far from contentment.
A few months ago, I awoke in the middle of the night with this heavy, horrific feeling that I was alone and that God no longer existed. It was the worst feeling I had ever experienced in all 23 years of my life. As I prayed and cried out, like a puppy looking for it’s owner or a baby looking for it’s mother in the middle of the night, I suddenly felt God pull me in and wrap me in His arms. It felt a lot like the time when I was out snorkeling in Hawaii and started sinking in the ocean, frantically searching for my dad who was floating above the water. When he pulled me up out of the water, and allowed me to cling to his shoulders, I realized that I didn’t want to be without his strength. We need a strength outside of ourselves to carry on. Although I would never want to experience that frightening awakening in the middle of the night again(I am very much aware that this was a spiritual battle), God gave me an understanding of what so many people wake up to in the middle of the night. With the realization, something got hold of me. Because here is the thing, once you are found, you are no longer lost. And, once you are no longer lost, you find that your purpose, your worth, and your identity is wrapped up in the very One that you have been discovered by.
Living and working in the Hollywood Industry isn’t always easy. Yet, as I’ve mentioned before, it has allowed me to experience God’s love in the most unlikely of places. Read more about that here.
Being at The Voice on Wednesday and being wrapped up in that environment only confirmed to me once again that I never want to lose sight of the fact that I am found. Yes, I may have difficult days, but I would so much rather experience those hard days with God than without Him.
There is a world (the Hollywood Industry included) that needs Jesus. We can’t be afraid to build relationships with those who are different from us. How else are we going to spread the gospel? Church is a Monday-Sunday thing.
I love these words from my Pastor,
“We are called to be witnesses, but we aren’t called to be the judge. We are just one beggar telling another beggar that we found some bread. We aren’t meant to bring corrective measures to the world. It’s our responsibility to love those that are outside…we have to look past all the improper conduct, immodesty, foul language, and we have to see that person is someone who God loves. That is the way Jesus operated. Go and sin no more doesn’t work until you say neither can I condemn you. The first thing we have to do is deal with condemnation first, which is us being able to separate the sin from the sinner. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can be able to do that. We don’t have that power, but we are given the mandate to reach out IN LOVE.”
Through the power of God’s love, by building relationships with those around us, rather than focusing just on our Sunday services (though every time we gather together at a church building, it is important), we will see God impact lives in a beautiful and profound way. We don’t have to put on a facade. We are all just human beings, yet as a found person in Christ, we can share our stories and say, “Hey. I’d love to introduce you to someone who changed my life for the better.”
No, we aren’t called to save the world (that is God’s responsibility, not ours), but we are called to go into the world, to reach out to people and introduce them to Jesus, and Jesus, in the same way He saved you and I, will bring about new life. The thing is we like to put people in a box, but Jesus doesn’t put people in a box. He sees us all equally and wants all of His children to be gathered around the dinner table, TOGETHER. We can’t ever be together if we don’t know one another, and how do we get to know one another? We spend time with one another. We spend more time thinking about others than thinking about ourselves. (this is not easy. Trust me, I know.) But, this selfless love is living the gospel.
As we bridge the gap between those who are lost and found, we will recognize that “the power of the gospel is not to put you in a cave, but to put something on you that allows you to go into the world and not allow the characters and values of the world get in you.” -Pastor Rich Brown // Build relationships, pray for others, hang out, eat together, with non-Christians, with people who are not like you and I. Yes, stand for truth, but stand for truth in love. Let’s listen to people’s stories, rather than trying to shove our agenda down people’s throats. People won’t listen to us if they don’t trust us. And, trust is the foundation of every relationship. Let’s start acting like we are found, living our lives not getting consumed by the petty things and the things that just do not matter.
I hope I got my message across, but if I didn’t, feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss it more. Except, let’s do more than just talk about it. Let’s live it. Let’s pray (remember, prayer is the foundation of the Christian life. Without it, we will get nowhere. Prayer will activate the Holy Spirit within us and allow us to discern and see things that we never saw before), and let’s find ways to reach out to those around us.
Who is God calling you and I to love today?
For the truth is
You may be their only connection to the Father.
But, don’t be overwhelmed.
For, within you
Is great power
Through the Holy Spirit
To share the good news
And, be the light in a city
That is lost
who desires to be found.