By Daniel Foster / @DanielFoster07
He is jealous for me, His love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
On April 27th, 2011 a series of tornadoes came rolling through my hometown. That night was full of fear and anxiety as I was trying to find out if all of my friends were safe, and having to wait until the sun rose to see the damage that had our town had undergone felt like torture.
By Aaron Jeffries / FB: AJEFFRIES1
The state I live in receives a lot of negative remarks, West Virginia – “The Mountain State”. We are most commonly referred to as rednecks. The county I grew up in, Wayne County, is usually spoken of in poor taste, not only by the surrounding counties, but by residents of the county.
Occasionally, I will hear excuses for why someone doesn’t know something or cannot perform a task (i.e.: “oh sorry, I’m from Wayne county” or “don’t mind him he is just a Wayne county boy”), so over time, people who make this excuse for themselves or accept the mindset come to believe that because they are from this area, they will not get very far in life.
Today I have news for anyone who lives this way: you do not have to be a statistic. You do not have to accept that just because other people do not think you’re worth anything, that that means you are worthless.
By Kevin Welborn / @theKevinWelborn
For real, people. I got nothing right now. I am staring at Microsoft Word and am attempting to create an article for www.backrowonline.com that will mold the next generation and change the landscape of humanity in the 21st century. I am coming up empty.
It is like the 12 year old me wearing purple denim in the early 90s… I am trying too hard and it is painfully obvious.
In a typical week, I preach or teach four different times and sometimes more. In ten years as a youth minister (shout out to SJBC!), I taught over 500 Wednesday night Bible studies. Thinking about those numbers, I should be way better at it than I am.
Shocker alert! Sometimes I am just a few minutes from the Sunday morning sermon and I am miles away in my preparation. I feel like my notes are garbage, the outline is ignorant, and my conclusion is completely lame. Often these sermons turn out to be a major bust in my opinion and I feel that I wasted everyone’s time.
Wildly, these are quite frequently the sermons people remember the best or they mention that it had a profound effect on them in one way or another. Obviously, this makes me feel much better about everything and I truly appreciate their encouragement.
By Daniel Foster / @DanielFoster07
"Jesus didn’t die in a suit and tie. If you think church is just suit and tie, you’re missing Jesus. Jesus didn’t die in front of a fancy crowd. There was nothing nice and tidy about the crucifixion. It was a messy death.”
These were words from Louie Giglio that rang loud and clear in my ears as I was standing in puddles.
Last year I took a group of high school/college students to the Passion Good Friday concert in Atlanta. Due to traffic, we arrived a little later than we were shooting for, resulting in a already packed out Verizon Amphitheater. A couple of students managed to wiggle their way into a couple of seats under the pavilion, but the rest of us had to enjoy the service from the back lawn. In the rain. In the cold. I was drenched to the core, and the rain didn’t look like it was going to let up anytime soon. That night, I gained a new respect for “I’ll Praise You In this Storm”.
By Greg Stokley / @GregStokley
We all know that it feels like. It happens when things don’t go as expected. It blindsides you just as fast as that surprise bill or auto repair. In the blink of an eye, when the news is bad, there is a single, solitary symptom that comes from the onslaught of life and its many problems. It is a silent destroyer, hindering you from enjoying anything and everything you should have joy in.
This killer of dreams is named Worry.
Some of you probably thought I was going to say something else, or you were prepared for it due to the fact that the word “worry’ was in the title. In any case, you know that right now or in the recent past you have battled this very bleak reality of life. We all know how it starts. Something negative happens, and Worry shows up and threatens to consume our every thought. Make no mistake. Worry does not share control. If left unchecked, Worry will literally suffocate you.
By Aaron Jeffires / FB: AJeffries1
Doubt has been on my mind a lot lately. Doubt can handicap a person who is getting ready to conquer a great quest. Some say it can even kill our joy. I must admit, as I write this, I am struggling with it.
I am a Christian who is not afraid to tell you he has doubts about life. I have seen miracles. For example, my wife was told she’d never be able to have children, but God worked that out. I have seen people come back from sickness completely healed. I have seen members of my church being pushed in a wheelchair to them walking out on their own two feet.
However, I, Aaron Jeffries, have doubts! Having just been through “Holy Week” as some call it, I am in a weird place. I haven’t really begun to think about the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It’s not that I’m doubting Him -- I am nothing without Him -- but my mind is thinking of someone else, someone whom we affectionately call “Doubting Thomas.”
He was not present when the risen Jesus first appeared to the disciples. When told by the others, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas replied that he would not believe it unless he could actually see and touch Jesus' wounds.
By Matt Coker / @MatthewSCoker & @BackRowBeliever
There was a time when I was dead inside.
I spent several years of my life entombed in my own depression, bitterness, and fear.
During those years, I fed addictions and bad habits, just to feel something. Just to convince myself for a moment that I was still alive.
I spent more nights than I want to admit contemplating suicide and once began to make an attempt before chickening out.
Later in life, I finally accepted Christ, but instead of asking Him into my heart, I asked him to remain in his tomb.
I didn’t deserve redemption, I didn’t deserve salvation, I didn’t deserve his resurrection. I didn’t want them. I wanted what I deserved – misery.