Now . . . what an opportunity we have to reflect His glory and share the Good News of Jesus!
Jesus changes our relationships and ministry. And in all honesty, this statement is redundant because our relationships are our ministry. And our ministry is our relationships. We have the opportunity to reflect Jesus in each interaction and relationship the Lord has provided.
We are all ministers as followers of Jesus Christ. (Again, if you are on the fence about following Jesus and believing in all Easter embodies, please comment at the end of this text. I’d be honored to listen to your story and your thoughts around it all.). For those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus, listen up! It’s time to remove the veil and burn bright!
The ‘veil’ I’m referring to was present from the very beginning. The moment Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, a veil was created between God and man. This veil separated people from the Lord because our sin separated us from His holiness and glory.
Even when Moses had the honor of talking to the Lord face-to-face, he had to cover his face with a veil when interacting with everyone else because his face shown too brightly with the glory of the Lord. When the Lord gave Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle, the veil or curtain was hung to separate the priests from the ‘Holy of Holies’, the residing place of our God. And this veil remained until Jesus.
The veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two . . .
The veil was destroyed. All that separated man from the Lord was removed. Thanks to His torture and death on the cross (which Hebrews refers to as the ‘joy set before Him’) and the resurrection that followed, we can now draw near to Him and have the Holy Spirit dwell within us. We can worship in Spirit and in truth as our relationship with Jesus is real and near. (John 4:24) The Lord gives us freedom from sin and shame!
While Jesus overcame death and all evil by dying on the cross, our enemy clings to all the veil represents and continues to try to shade His glory. Just like in the Garden of Eden, our shame and the lies that follow continue to separate us from His freedom.
So my question for you is, as we move forward from Easter, to what veil are you clinging? What lies are you believing? What shame are you carrying?
As we worship in Sprit and TRUTH, we much replace the shame and lies of the veil with His truth. And share this TRUTH with others! In relationships, the veil is torn as well! Let’s go deeper in relationships, being real and authentic with each other. There’s no need to hide because Jesus changes everything!
Jesus changes our relationships and our ministry by calling us to be mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Himself! I love how being a reflection doesn’t take effort. Burning bright doesn’t take effort. It’s only an act of surrender. and obedience. The word ‘transfigured’ in the scripture above is the same Hebrew word found in Romans 12:2, being transfigured or transformed by the renewing of our mind. This verse follows the powerful statement of our call to be a living sacrifice.
While this might sound crazy in regards to ‘transfigured’ and ‘living sacrifice’, I challenge you to reflect on the results of your own efforts. And your perception of ‘religion’. Are you tired?
Think about what veil of shame or lies you are unintentionally clinging to now. And how you can replace this veil with the truth that Jesus has set you free.
So as we move forward from Easter 2023, let’s not give the ‘god of this age’ the opportunity to hinder His light. The veil is torn. While there is plenty of darkness around us, we choose to ‘let light shine out of darkness’ and share His hope, freedom, and joy with all the relationships the Lord has provided. This is our ministry! Let’s burn bright, better together!
Happy Holy Week! Let’s continue our celebration of how Jesus changes everything!
Jesus changes our worship. And our worship can change our perspective of everything. Ultimately, worship keeps our eyes on Christ and fills us with His love. We often spend so much energy on ourselves and the things around us.
We were made for worship. Yet it’s so easy to worship the things of this world and make idols of ourselves, others, and things. Yet pure worship is shifting our gaze away from our needs and desires and surrendering ourselves into His hands, full of grace and power. It’s actually in this submission that true freedom is found. Crazy, huh?!
When we engage in worship, in all that we do, we are inviting Him in to each and everything. True freedom is found in living in the truth of what He did on the cross, making the good news of Easter our main thing.
Through Holy Barre, we regularly talk about burning bright, better together. We promise that your muscles will burn, but we pray even more, the Lord ignites a fire in your soul through worship. As His fire burns within us, and His living water fills our souls, we will overflow with His goodness and burn bright for all to see. Our worship is founded on His strength and goodness, not our own.
John Chapter 4 tells of such a beautiful story when Jesus publicly revealed who He really was for the first time. He was at a well in the middle of the day and spoke with a Samaritan woman. As you can read in scripture, this conversation in and of itself was radically uncommon. Not only did Jews not talk to Samaritans or interact with them, but this woman was a social outcast because of her choices and lifestyle. But Jesus met her where she was and connected with her because of His goodness, not her own.
It was in their conversation that Jesus revealed Himself as the living water and the Son of God. He stated how those who drink from His well will never thirst but have eternal life. Rather than pursuing the wells of the world, He spoke of finding abundance and a flowing fountain through Him alone. He also stated that because of Him, we can all worship in spirit and in truth.
Jesus changes our worship by allowing us to worship in everything we do. It no longer has to be formal or in a temple or only when we have been obedient. Our worship is a matter of the heart and can occur anytime thanks to His spirit and truth.
This Holy Week, and moving forward, lets invite Him into each and every part. Let’s choose to praise Him and bring Him glory and proclaim His good news in all things. Not only do we worship Him in spirit and in truth, but scripture also states that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (We talked about this also in regards to how Jesus Changes Our Bodies.) And when we know the truth, the truth will set us free. Worship brings freedom!
This freedom is Holy Barre’s theme for 2023. You can read more HERE!
So while the idea of worshiping through a work out might seem unusual, I invite you to step in to His freedom, move your body in love, focus on the lyrics to the songs, and savor His breath in your lungs. Or turn on this playlist below as you clean your house, cook dinner, drive home, or finish up your big work project. Let’s worship Him today!
With each Holy Barre post shared, I pray you know that it’s not coming from a place of ‘having it all figured out’ but rather from ‘still trying to figure it out! Join us!’ And the timing of this week’s focus on Jesus changing our hearts and minds aligns with my personal place of brokenness and humility, not strength or expertise. But His power is made perfect in our weakness, so let’s dive in!
Before we begin to discuss our hearts and minds, we have to mutually commit to being real. It’s hard to hide the state of your physical appearance, but it’s easy to hide your mental, emotional, and relational state. We must be willing to open ourselves up, reflect from a place of humility, and be okay with being vulnerable. Authenticity is not natural nor comfortable, but true freedom and healing do not come from being ‘fine’.
There are two aspects of ‘being real’ that need to be emphasized for changed hearts and minds:
We MUST be real with the Lord. He loves us, all of us, because of WHOSE we are and WHO we are, not what we do. So the pressures off! We can give Him the good, the bad, and the ugly about our days, weeks, relationships, and projects. We can cry out to Him in anger or joy! The reality is He already knows it all, just desires for us to share it. And the Lord is a really good listener. 🙂
We NEED biblical community and accountability. We need a few safe people in our lives to whom we can also bring the good, the bad, and the ugly. Friends who will listen, encourage, support, and speak truth when we need to hear it the most. Also, our being real provides a safe space for others to be real, hence deepening those beautiful relationships.
Okay, so ready to get real? 🙂
How are you doing? What are you thinking about?
What brings you joy? What brings you peace?
What are you trying to control in your life right now? What are you holding on to?
What are you scared of? What fears periodically cycle through your mind?
Ugh, shame! How is shame impacting your thoughts and feelings? Lacking forgiveness in some area? What lies are you believing about yourself? About others? About God?
So I’m an overthinker and underfeeler. My natural responses to the questions above might center around facts about things rather than how I truly feel about them. Can anyone else relate? Go through the above questions and respond with facts. Now let’s go through the questions above but dive into our feelings.
How are you doing? What are you thinking about? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
What brings you joy? What brings you peace? WHAT FEELINGS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE ALL THAT?
What are you trying to control in your life right now? What are you holding on to? WHAT FEELING COMES UP WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT RELEASING CONTROL?
What are you scared of? What fears periodically cycle through your mind? HOW DO THOSE FEARS MAKE YOU FEEL?
Ugh, shame! How is shame impacting your thoughts and feelings? Lacking forgiveness in some area? What lies are you believing about yourself? About others? About God? CAN YOU ATTACH A FEELING TO EACH AREA OR PERSON? JUST TRY TO NAME A FEELING.
I’m obviously no counselor, and you might have thought this exercise to be silly. And maybe it is silly. Or maybe it feels silly because we never process our own feelings like this! I’ll analyze, plan, and process things all day long, even aligning them to His truth. I often think about other people’s feelings. So I think that makes me a feeler, right?! Nope. What gets overlooked is how I feel personally about such things. How I really feel – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And as Alisa Keeton states it, our feelings need a Friend.
So what does all this have to do with Jesus and Easter? Let’s look at John 16 and hear from Jesus Himself.
Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the Holy Spirit is near and active and engaged in a relationship with us as believers. Jesus changes our hearts and minds as we make the choice to pursue Him and allow Him to fill us up as a Friend and Counselor and Helper and all the other terms used to describe the Holy Spirit! He dwells within us, taking our thoughts and feelings and giving us truth and joy and peace!
The struggle with our hearts and our minds has been around since the beginning. Even in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had a tough time processing their thoughts and emotions and making good decisions. The enemy convinced them that knowledge was the wisest choice, and they chose the tree of knowledge over the tree of life.
Every day we have the choice to pursue deep roots in knowledge or deep roots in life and His love and our obedience. The world loves knowledge, but Jesus came for life! We might find a sense of comfort and control in knowledge while Jesus and His love require trust. I get it. I’ve been there and daily have to make the choice just like each of you. Oh how I want to understand things. Like ALL the things! But like Proverbs 3:5 says above, trusting the Lord with all my heart is where life is found!
So what can we do?! Lots of options! As long as the ‘what’ includes Jesus, you’re moving forward on the path to freedom! One recommend is to go back through that bulleted list of questions above, and this time, find a verse from the Bible that relates to your thoughts and feelings. Maybe it’s one like 2 Timothy 1:7 – ‘For God has not given us a spiritoffear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ Or maybe you google ‘bible verses about fear of sickness.’ Let’s attach truth to your responses though!
We’re going to talk about worship next week, which is an awesome choice for your heart and mind. Pursing Him in praise and prayers is also a wise move. You can read more here: Jesus Changes our Prayers Praise & Meditation. And let’s not forget about gratitude – that’ll do wonders! 🙂
Yet I’d like to end with the Armor of God. As this physical representation of spiritual truths gets me fired up! (You can find lots more about this if you search on this site.) There are two pieces of armor whose jobs are specifically to protect our hearts and minds:
Breastplate of Righteousness – by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, we are choosing to do what the Lord says in order to guard our hearts. Righteousness is responsive obedience to His truth and love. And when we pursue the things of the Lord, seek fiercely after Jesus, and obey His commands, our hearts are full and protected. Shame and fear can often creep in when we stray from faith. When we’re full of Jesus, there’s little room for shame and fear.
Helmet of Salvation – by putting on the helmet of salvation for the very first time, we chose to make King Jesus our Lord and Savior of our life. We made Easter real and personal. By putting on the helmet of salvation each day, we are choosing to make Kin Jesus our Lord and Savior of our day, today, right now, in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Amongst the lies and pain and challenges and comfort and control and knowledge, our minds remain protected and guarded because we are full of His grace and truth, not anything that the world throws our way.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I realize I wrote A LOT. Sorry. But before you go, take some time to listen to these songs in response to Jesus changing our hearts and minds and celebrate Easter with a renewed and full perspective!
Jesus changed everything when the veil (or curtain of the temple) got ripped in two. And then Jesus made everything even better when He gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us! Not just near us, but IN US! This is how we can refer to our bodies as ‘His temple’. But that’s for a later post. 😉 And guess what, now we all can have radiant faces like Moses when we look to Him! (see Psalm 34:5)
So thanks to all Easter encompasses and all Jesus did for us on the cross, worship now happens in our bodies rather than in a holy temple. Our bodies are now such holy temples through which we worship. These beautiful bodies are not to be worshipped but to be places of worship. We are called to worship our Creator, not His creation.
Ah yet our culture sure likes to get us confused and shift our focus. From fitness trends to food diets to anti-aging to wholistic health, it is so easy to be consumed by the information and guidance our world throws our way. And don’t get me wrong, these things just listed are not wrong in and of themselves. They can be valuable and helpful to living a long life of love. Well, except anti-aging . . . that’s just ridiculous and false advertising! But what really matters is our worship. And if any aspect of our bodies is getting more attention in our thoughts and actions than the things of the world, we have a worship issue.
Jesus came to set us free! Not to enslave us with a need to keep up an external image and a pursuit of believing our value is determined by our appearance.
I come from a long line of appearance-based critics. It breaks my heart how both my grandmothers have spent their final years critiquing their own appearances, signs of aging and body size. Pretty sure every family holiday gathering involved an evaluation of our shape, size, and skin health. Yet I’m afraid my experience is the norm and one condoned by our culture and the things of this world. I once told my grandmother that I don’t believe Jesus cares what she weighs in her 85th year of life. She scoffed and said, ‘well I’m not sure about that.’
Bless what our culture (and its marketing and money) has done to our poor souls. I spent many years on that hamster wheel, and even fell off a few times tragically thanks to unhealthy lifestyles in attempt to not gain weight. I know the worst of it because I myself have fallen into the lies of the worst of it. Yet Jesus changes everything!
I realize the word ‘fearfully’ might be confusing in this context so let’s clarify something. This use of ‘fearfully’ is the same used when saying we fear the Lord. It is not a ‘scared of’ fear but a ‘sacred’ fear. It is the state of being in awe of the majesty and power of our Creator who created each of us. Your body is uniquely designed by our Heavenly Father specifically for your unique purpose. Do you believe that?
It’s hard to believe that our bodies are good. So let’s stop and say a little prayer together:
Heavenly Father, thank you for my body. You call it good and beautiful and lovely just as it is. Thank you for each limb and lump, each hand and my heart. My body isn’t perfect and has plenty of struggles, but I also know this body is temporary. Forgive me for being critical of Your creation. Help me forgive those who have spoken, acted, and harmed my body in a way that doesn’t align with Your beautiful design. Help me believe what you say is true about Your temple. Most importantly, thank you for living in me and loving me from the inside out. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Now I’ve got a few more verses to drive this ideal home. In First and Second Corinthians, Paul really gets fired up about our bodies being a temple. Now please don’t read these passages as judgmental, condemning statements to make you feel guilty about your view or treatment of your body. I’m referencing these scripture passages out of heartache and passion to empower you to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength or body.
I spent too many years loving the Lord with the first three but keeping my body for myself and the world. He wants ALL of us and lives within our bodies! And we need each other. We need each individual, unique body to come together in such a healthy and holy way that His glory can’t be denied!
This last verse references Leviticus 26:12 when the Israelites were on a journey to the freedom of His promised land. This passage applied then to the Israelites, and then to the Corinthians, and now to us in this present age. Because the Lord desires our freedom and wants us to worship and live so freely that the world can’t help but rejoice in Him! So how does a barre workout or exercise in general apply to this? What about what you eat and drink and how much you sleep? Don’t get caught up by the do’s and don’t’s and counting and tracking of this world. Focus on freedom and living a life of love. We move our bodies in love and worship through a workout so we can love well! We fuel our bodies well so we can be ready and able to freely serve as the Spirit leads. (I Cor 10:31)
Because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! (2 Cor 3:17) And His Spirit dwells in you! (I Cor 3:16). Because Jesus changes everything!
Jesus came to earth for YOU. And He came for US. ALL of us! Full of grace and truth!
In a culture that promotes individual differences while also creating like-minded communities that affirm your opinion, Jesus’s life and teachings are counter-cultural:
Love your neighbor, and also love your enemy. (Luke 10:27; Matt 5:43-44)
The greatest is least, and the least is greatest. (Mark 10:31)
Serve others first, and think of yourself less. (Mark 10:44-45; Phil 2:3-4)
We are ALL children in the same family of God. (I John 3)
Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. (Mark 11:25)
Take one day a week to rest and worship. Be still and know. (Exodus 10:18; Psalm 46:10)
Store up treasures in heaven rather than accumulating things on earth. (Matt 6:19-21)
Man looks at appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart. Charm is deceptive and beauty of fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to the praised. (1 Sam 16:7; Prov 31:30)
Marriage is a holy union between man and woman. (Matt 19:4-6)
Be a living sacrifice and transform your mind. Don’t copy the world’s ways. (Romans 12:1-2)
He’ll carry our burdens so we can live freely and lightly. (Matt 11:28-30)
The list above are just some counter-cultural teachings with just one related scripture reference. There are tons more, but you get the idea. 🙂
Yet Jesus changed EVERYTHING when He died so we might live. The King of the World gave His life so we spend eternity with Him despite our many, many, failures. Talk about a fairy tale plot twist! I love to describe the gospel as the ‘greatest love story ever’ because it is truly beyond our understanding. Yet it’s a story all about LOVE.
And this LOVE is how Jesus changes communities. When LOVE is the foundation of all we do and our response to all we’ve been given through Christ, communities can be changed.
In John Mark Comer’s book, Live No Lies, he shares the story of a ‘tiny Jewish sect of Jesus followers who overcame the bastion of paganism and won over the Roman Empire in only a few centuries.’ The main emphasis of the story is not ‘the church’s relevance or relatability to the culture but its differences and distinctness that made it compelling to so many. The church was marked by five distinctive features . . . ‘
‘The church was multiracial and multiethnic, with a high value for diversity, equity, and inclusion.’
‘The church was spread across socioeconomic lines as well, and there was a high value for caring for the poor, those with extra were expected to share with those with less.’
‘It was staunch in its active resistance to infanticide and abortion.’
‘It was resolute in its vision of marriage and sexuality as between one man and one woman for life.’
‘It was nonviolent, both on a personal level and a political level.’
John Mark Comer goes on to say how two of these features would be considered liberal while two would be considered conservative. And the last just doesn’t mesh well with the others from a worldly viewpoint.
‘Yet all five positions are basic, historic Christian orthodoxy. NOTHING in the five is fringe or off center for a disciple of Jesus.’
Because Jesus changes everything. And His teachings can change communities. As we live out His love. Yet when I saw the quote below randomly on my Facebook feed, it truly made me stop and think:
We have become so dominated by relational evangelism…we just keep relating, doing nice things for people while they’re perishing…
To claim to be a loving people and not tell the gospel is a self contradiction.
How do I love others with His love AND share the greatest love story ever? How can we as followers of Christ both live out and shout out His love in our communities?
Jess Connelly’s book Dance, Stand, Run is one of my favorites as it addresses our Christian culture’s shift from an extreme emphasis on truth to now an extreme emphasis on grace. Our world needs both. Yet you can’t have one without the other. Jesus’s teachings emphasized both. We need to stand firm on truth while dancing to the rhythms of grace. Then we run on a mission of love.
Who in your community needs to hear of His truth in love? Who in your community needs to experience His grace through your love? Let’s run on a mission of love together and let Jesus change our community! Full of grace and truth!
Praying is tough. It’s awkward. It can feel ineffective. It can seem religious but not relational. Surely I’m not the only one who has felt this way about prayer. Anyone else?
Now while I still don’t consider myself a ‘prayer princess’ or one who would say that’s her spiritual gifting, my prayer life is becoming richer and deeper as my understanding of how Jesus changes everything grows . . .
Let’s start in the beginning. When Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the Garden of Eden, they could interact with Him directly and casually. The closeness was tangible and present. However, as soon as Eve was tempted, ate the apple, and sinned against God, the intimacy and direct relationship was severed. Why? Because sin stained our own holiness. It’s not that the Lord didn’t WANT to be near them, He could NOT be near them in this same way as His holiness is too powerful. Moses was one of the few who got to closely interact with the Lord in the Old Testament. And even then his radiant face literally glowed and had to be covered up. (see Exodus 34:29-35)
Yet despite the initial separation and our CONTINUED sinful choices that don’t align with His love, God has been pursuing us and drawing us near to bring us back to Eden with Him. To reinstate that intimacy and restore the holy relationship He originally designed. With sin now present, separating us from our Father, additional holy things needed to be present to counter our unholy sin. So we read about sacrifices, altars, cleanliness guidelines, priests, formal prayers, etc in the Old Testament. There was a Holy Temple that contained the Holy of Holies where priests would meet with God. Of course a veil separated our Lord from the priests so they wouldn’t die in His presence.
And then . . .
And then Jesus came and changed everything. He came near. He pursued us. The Son of God came to earth, walked among His people, shared the greatest message ever, loved beyond our capacity, was tempted, tried, and tortured, died a horrific death, was buried, and then rose again. There’s one little additional bit in that list of things Jesus that too this day fills me with awe. When Jesus died, that veil near the Holy of Holies, that curtain that separated the Lord from the priests for their protection, just ripped in two! Why? Because once Jesus died on the cross for OUR sins, there was no longer need for separation between the Lord and us. No more veils, no more sacrifices, no more altars, no more Holy of Holies preventing our being near our God!
Now stick with me for the final and best part of this summary. Jesus changed everything when the veil or curtain got ripped in two. And then Jesus made everything even better when He gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us! Not just near us, but IN US! This is how we can refer to our bodies as ‘His temple’. But that’s for a later post. 😉 And guess what, now we all can have radiant faces like Moses when we look to Him! (see Psalm 34:5)
And as we begin to experience His Spirit alive in us, our prayers, praises, and meditation change. To experience something is a process and takes practice. This is no different than with the Holy Spirit.
If you’re like me, even the term ‘Holy Spirit’ seemed crazy, silly, scary, and intimidating all at the same time. No pressure here – your relationship with the Lord is unique to you and He meets you right where you are and how you need. You may already be experiencing the Holy Spirit and not even realize it or you may want to begin with some of the ideas below to enhance your prayers, praises, and meditations.
Just want to note that I have never ‘heard’ from the Lord. Nothing audible here! But I’m not an auditory learner. I’m a visual learner. And that’s how the Lord connects with me. Through my imagination with images and visual reminders either in my mind or throughout my day. Our God is a personal and creative Lord. And that’s how He desires to connect with you.
While Jesus walked on earth, He taught about prayer, encouraging us to keep it simple and focused on God. The Lord’s prayer is a great place to start, and I’m a sucker for a colorful, fun graphic! Gotta love good visuals, right?!
Another favorite prayer of mine can be found in Ephesians 3. Pray this over and over again and daily for a week or two. Pray it for yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents and siblings, your coworkers, your community, etc. Each time you read over it, ask the Lord to bring His emphasis to each little phrase. This is such a rich and powerful passage! Do you believe its words? If not, that’s okay too. Great thing to talk about with the Lord.
We don’t like to pause, sit, and be still. We don’t like to feel unproductive. We don’t like to focus on our own thoughts and feelings. And I am including myself in these ‘we’ statement. Yet the Lord has been showing how necessary, to our health, wholeness, and holiness, it is to rest and revel in our Savior. It’s important to our prayer life and the way we experience His Spirit.
In addition, we must make space to listen to Him as much as we share. I invite you to share with Him in casual conversation (or in writing) about a few things you have this week and how you feel about them. Then just listen to His response about each. You may not feel a response from Him initially or you might be overwhelmed by His response. Both are okay, okay?
A heart that doesn’t like to wonder in God will likely wander from Him.
So what does that look like? First, everyone’s answer is going to be unique to how the Lord created and wired them. It’s also influenced by the season of life we’re in as well as what our day looks like! Also, there is no wrong answer here! Next, prayer, praise, and meditation takes practice. And whether you think this is good or bad news, in reality, we won’t master this til we’re in heaven standing face to face with our King. So don’t get discouraged!
Here are some valuable tools to connect with the Lord:
Ultimately, let’s pause more, pursue the things of the Lord, pray in all occasions, praise Him for the gifts of the day, process His Word, and press play on truth-filled music. And listen. The Holy Spirit is alive and active – let’s let Him do His thing!
Wanna learn more about all this? Looking for some tangible tools to connect with the Lord? More confused now than when you began reading this post? Complete this form and we’ll connect with you!
The first time I heard my boss/pastor/friend make the statement, ‘Marriage is the greatest way to live out the Gospel’, I think I let out a deep sigh and paused. And over a decade later, that truth still makes me sigh and pause. Why? Because it’s so true! Yet so tough! And totally explains why the enemy loves to attack marriages and families.
By ‘gospel’, I’m referring to Jesus’ life, teachings, death on the cross, and resurrection. The gospel is the ‘good news’ and story of Jesus. And if we are going to put His teachings into action and His grace and truth into practice so His power and love can be revealed, marriage truly is the best place to start! I love how a member of Holy Barre expressed her thoughts in response to one of our YouVersion Bible Reading Plans.
‘I think it’s very brave to embrace being a wife, while at the same time it’s a privilege to love a son of God. For a very long time, Satan has been attacking marriages. I believe our culture echoes these attacks with the normalization of divorce and leaving your spouse when things get tough. My marriage challenges me because my daily bread is dying to myself, dying to my selfishness and pride, and asking God (constantly) how to live up to the standard of being His bride first and how to be a servant in my earthly marriage second. And there are days where I fail miserably. But there is a grace in not knowing what the next day holds, and trusting the Holy Spirit to equip me with whatever I lack.’
As we begin our Easter series, Jesus Changes Everything, I thought it’d be helpful to start with our families and marriages. From marriage to parenting to caregiving to celebrations to losses and everything in between, we NEED Jesus! Our roles within our families can be the most challenging and wearing. Family relationships involve the good, the bad, and the ugly yet can be the most beautiful and restorative of all!
The best news is Jesus is ready and willing to help us and desires for us to live freely and lightly! That is the good news of Easter!
Because of Easter, the Holy Spirit now dwells within us – guiding, directing, leading, and filling. From His overflow, we love and live freely and lightly! It’s important to note that our spouse, children, parents, etc will never fill us like the love of Christ. Just like we can’t fully trust or worship or pursue or seek another person more than we do Jesus.
Our true Soul Mate died on the cross for us so that we can spend every day and eternity with Him. He just asks us to remain in His love. Day in and day out. He will give us the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit that we can then share with those around us. May we be filled with His joy so it overflows!
Families get complicated as we consider all aspects and identify the generational struggles, leave legacies for our children and their children, mourn the loss of those who have passed, and find hope in knowing we get to spend eternity with those who have believed in Jesus as their Savior. Jesus changes our families and marriages because our present families and marriages impact more than just our present day. Our families are part of a much larger family.
May our families burn bright, better together, founded on the truth that Jesus changes everything!
We serve a really, really big God. Just as He delivered Joseph, He can deliver us. (Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was favored by his father. He became a slave and was then thrown into prison.)
Sometimes the world just feels dark. And sometimes you feel surrounded by darkness in the midst of struggles and challenges. God uses the tests in life to display His glory to the watching world. When circumstances are far less than ideal, we can confidently say, “This is preparation for something better.”
The story of Joseph reveals two very important things: God’s plans will always supersede our own, and His plans are rooted in a much greater purpose. His glory is being revealed in our hardship. He is making all things new. He is present in our darkness-and where His presence is, hope is alive.
Sometimes in a world that is full of uncertainty, amidst seasons that feel really hard, or when life just feels confusing, you need to be reassured of this: Your God is unshakeable. Unwavering. Unmatched.
Unstoppable in all that He does, unconditional in all that He loves. The ground beneath you is sturdy, and you are safe, secure, and stable in Jesus Christ.
God will never compromise your heart just so your hands can hold something.
Trust His provision + preparation over your life. He does not withhold good, but He also knows the greatest good is a heart surrendered to Him.
Light overcame darkness once and for all through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is where our hope rests and our surrendered hearts burn bright. Beginning this week, Holy Barre will enter the Easter season and celebrate how Jesus changes everything! Join us!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. And if you’re like me, you have some expectations. Let’s be real. You can pretend that you don’t and that you think this holiday is silly. Or you can admit that you’d be pretty pumped to learn someone is planning a special surprise for you. Am I right?
So here’s the deal. Whether it’s a holiday or every day life, we truly are better together. We are designed for connection and love and admiration and all the things. If you’re a lady, you likely want to know you’re lovely. If you’re a man, you likely want to know you have what it takes. And it’s a wonderful gift when those special people around us affirm these desires. Being in valuable, life-giving relationships is a true gift and so valuable to our well-being. The Lord designed us to be better together. However . . .
WE ARE ONLY AS BETTER TOGETHER AS WE ARE INDIVIDUALLY WHOLE IN CHRIST, BURNING BRIGHT.
There’s intention in the order of Holy Barre’s key phrase – burning bright, better together. It’s taken after the greatest commandments . . .
Our primary call is loving the Lord our God with ALL that we are. He alone ignites a fire in our souls that can’t be put out and burns bright for us to experience and all to see! When Jesus states the greatest commandments in Matthew (verse above), He is referencing what’s written in Deuteronomy (verse below). I love the line after about committing wholeheartedly.
Alisa Keeton in The Wellness Revelation beautifully talks about wholehearted living from a biblical perspective. Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors as well, and I believe she was one of the first to dive into the topic. Regardless, wholehearted living results from being fully known, fully present, and fully engaged with the Spirit throughout each and every day. It’s not a balancing act of the all the roles or striving to reach a certain point of value. It’s living in the now with your whole heart and being. It’s letting the Lord fill you and make you whole and complete. While relationships, affirmations, and acquisitions are valuable and fun, they do not satisfy, fulfill, or make you whole. Only knowing who you are in Christ and whose you are gives the freedom to live wholeheartedly.
Wholehearted living means doing everything with great passion and purpose, even when you are asked to do something you are not good at. Still you show up, bringing your unique voice and your kind heart inside your one-of-a-kind beautiful body, believing you have something to offer that will create hope, love and life in yourself and others.
By showing up and being completely themselves, wholehearted people foster peace, joy, and growth in those around them because these qualities flow from within them.
Alisa Keeton, The Wellness Revelation
Then . . . and only then . . . can our ‘better together’ phrase be lived out in His glory! Then and only then is the second greatest commandment obeyed in a healthy and abundant way. When we’re whole in Christ, we can give abundantly rather than looking to others to fill us.
Alisa Keeton in The Wellness Revelation also brings up the two biggest barriers to whole hearted living – pride and unbelief. So whether you think you’re doing awesome on your own (and that your sins aren’t as bad as others) or you doubt your worth and His powerful presence (and that your sins are worse than others), we need to settle into the place of knowing who we are in Christ and whose we are, regardless of what we’ve done, good or bad.
Oh, it’s so easy to look to others for affirmation. To either receive compliments or compare our struggles with those around and think we’re good. But friends, none of this gives life. And this is why Jesus came. To give life, to quench hunger and thirst, to satisfy, to fill us, to show love, to give mercy and grace, and to emphasize our need for truth and faith in He alone by taking sacrificial and powerful action to provide it ALL.
Friends, I love community. I have been truly blessed by community. I value deep, authentic relationships. I want the raw stuff, the real stuff, the struggles and sins and songs of praise. Because the response to all life throws our way is Jesus. Only Jesus. And we need people in our lives to direct us back to Him and burn bright.
And as we say at Holy Barre, while we promise your muscles will burn, we pray even more that the Lord ignites a fire in your soul that can’t be put out. Burning bright, for the world to see, empowering and engaging all those around to let Him light their own unique, amazing fire. Whew, what a beautiful display of Light when we all are burning bright, better together!
Let Him fill you. Let Him make you whole. Love Him with ALL that you are. Valentine’s Day will be so much more special when you are full and have love to give than when you are looking to receive from others. Let’s love and live wholeheartedly this heart holiday!
We’ve been using the phrase ‘better together’ since the first meeting of Holy Barre three and a half years ago. And I’ve posted about our need for community in multiple ways in the past. Here’s one even with the same title!
While to many of you we sound like a broken record, we cannot overlook or neglect our need for true, genuine biblical community. I’m talking about relationships that go deeper than the surface chit chat and allow authentic and real conversations. As these are the types of relationships that truly burn bright and bring growth, joy, and freedom!
So what does better together actually look like?
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘iron sharpens iron’, but let’s focus on the word ‘sharpens’. The most valuable relationships in our lives are those that truly sharpen us, or make us more effective and better. This may look like giving encouragement, challenging each other, showing continuous support, or asking the real, hard questions. This may mean getting our hands dirty in each other’s messy lives but doing so from a place of service and love with the ultimate goal being to sharpen or make better. Check out the verse below.
The critical factor in all of this is our ability to be real with one another. If iron sharpens iron, we must be willing to be sharpened as well. This is where regular connection comes in and holding each other accountability through various seasons of life. Our American culture is so rich on getting our physical needs met, but many of us are so poor when it comes to relational needs. But good news! Jesus came for the broken, the lonely, the needy, the struggling. And we can live out His gospel message by admitting our own brokenness and connecting with the reality of others.
One thing that’s been standing out to me lately is our need to be better together with people different than us. We naturally gravitate to those in our same seasons and circles. And while those relationships are so valuable and genuine gifts, do they sharpen us? The book Live No Lies by John Mark Comer mentions thriving gospel communities in our history typically were the most diverse, racially and socioeconomically, groups of people. Let’s get outside our circles . . .
In applying this to Holy Barre, we value in-person connection. We LOVE our YouTube subscribers and social media followers while also praying each and every one is in biblical community where they live. In addition, we are training new Holy Barre instructors so they can bring this burning bright, better together community to where God has planted them! If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Holy Barre instructor, click here. New virtual training beginning in March!
Let’s end with this passage from Romans 12. And let’s group these verses together as one, processing through the truth that even these words are better together.
Ready to move your body in worship and process the idea of ‘better together’ further? Here’s a YouTube workout that’s ready for you!