Jaime Strmiska lives in Fresno, California, and works with the Spiritual Formation Team at The Well Community Church. Besides her love of writing, she enjoys pointing others to Christ, having non-surface-y convos. She and her husband, Matt, also have an inkling for diving into other cultures and adventures. Her desire is to be a woman after God’s own heart and to encourage others in that same journey.
There I was a few weeks ago, sitting on a bare wooden floor in a humble Thai hut, when God hit the reset button on my perspective of hospitality. This shift was not the kind of hospitality that rings of Martha Stewart or what Pinterest dreams are made of; it was true biblical hospitality.
I have struggled with the lie of grace avoidance. It’s a lie that says I am beyond God’s grace. And it’s an odd struggle in some ways, because from an early age, I could recite the passage in Ephesians 2:8 that says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” But I was missing the heart behind this truth.
At an early age, I became captivated by measuring up. I was mesmerized by achieving and striving. I remember in grade school, getting my first straight-A report card. And after that, anything less was unacceptable. Not that anyone told me so – my parents certainly didn’t pressure me, nor did my teachers. But in my mind, well heaven forbid I got a B (gag, I know!).
I was also the swimmer in high school who wouldn’t settle for anything less than 100-percent effort. I wasn’t a star athlete, but I knew I could ruthlessly compete with myself.
I’ve often thought that Santa Barbara is about as close to heaven as you can get. Perfect weather, amazing coastal views, and it’s home to my favorite beach, where you can sit for hours – just you and the waves – without the crowds.
But even this idyllic community isn’t perfect. I was reminded of this just this past Memorial Day weekend, when news broke of a tragic killing spree. At the center was 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, a young man who was living the proverbial good life. The son of a Hollywood director. Surrounded by wealth and fame. He drove a $40,000 BMW, flashed $300 Armani sunglasses, and was used to private Katy Perry concerts and flying first class.
Life with God doesn’t have to be complicated. Jesus has transformed us and, in return, we are called to grow close to Him, follow Him, and tell others about Him! There is nothing elaborate or elusive about it. No hoops to jump through, no bells and whistles. Pure, plain, simple: Love Jesus and tell others about Him.
Ever have those “aha” moments? The ones that leave you a little dazed and wondering why you never “got it” before? I feel like I’ve been having one of those lately working through a Bible study on covenant. The concept of covenant is core to our Christian faith, but even what may seem like…
Most of us have heard heart-wrenching statistics about the marginalized and oppressed around the globe: numbers like more than 26,000 children die each day primarily from preventable causes. What about the fact that 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 a day? Or 5 million individuals die each year from water-related diseases – in other words, lack of clean water.
These numbers are powerful; the kind that kick you in the gut.
But in an age when there are vast resources and advancements, and when we have endless information – like these sobering statistics – at our disposal, why is it that these scenarios even exist?