Stop Praying About It Because, Yes, You’re Called to Serve

I’ve been there before. Someone corners me in the church hallway, I say “corners” because, at this point, I’ve spent a good part of my walk down the hallway avoiding eye-contact for fear that this question will come, and asks me to help with something. I would like to be known as the Proverbs 31 woman, the Titus 2 woman, the admirable church woman, but I would like to earn the reputation of one devoted to good works while putting a minimal amount of effort into said good works. So when I see the person coming towards me, when the clipboard to sign-up is passed my way, I’m ashamed to admit that I pass it off with a simple, “Let me pray about it.” Now, there is a time and a place for exercising spiritual discernment and seeking God’s will on exactly where you need to be serving. But whether or not you need to be serving isn’t a question. We are called to serve. We are not called to simply fulfill an occasional obligation in the church nursery or to think charitable thoughts at Christmas time. We’re called to generously serve because we were extravagantly served. Christ humbled Himself, came to Earth as a man, and offered His life as a sacrifice on our behalf. That’s the example given for us to follow. “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” -Mark 10:43-45, ESV We are called to serve. As Christians, we aren’t excused from serving for more spiritual things, service is actually one of our primary callings. We should be horrified that there is such a need for believers to step up and be the hands and feet of Christ. The example given by Christ isn’t minimal good deeds while hiding behind self-care and the over-spiritualization of trying to find an excuse to avoid good works. As believers, our lives are meant to be poured out in service for each other. We aren’t meant to hold part of ourselves back or offer leftovers, we are meant to pour our lives out at the feet of God in service to Him and one another.…

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Are You Prepared For Christ? – Advent and the Call to Prepare Our Hearts and Lives

I am naturally an over-preparer. When my family went to a Christian retreat center to “camp” for the weekend, I read several books on wilderness survival, wore a whistle/compass/waterproof-match-holder around my neck, and packed a fanny pack full of supplies just in case I somehow wandered off of this very full campground and needed to survive on the land for several days. I was seven. My preparedness has become much more practical over the years but it is still here. By the 1st of December, 90% of my shopping is done. When I go on a trip, I usually have some sort of detailed printed itinerary. By detailed, I mean at least every hour is accounted for. At one point, in a very “typical Bailey” move, I made a spreadsheet with the results of a personality test I made all of my family and close friends take. While parts of my life are structured down to the minute, if you walked into my house, you probably wouldn’t guess that I prefer things to be structured. There are dishes in the sink. Flecks of a rope tug-of-war toy my dogs destroyed are scattered across the floor at my feet. Suffice it to say that if it is something that makes me feel insecure in myself, something I think I might not be able to do to my own standard, or something I don’t care one lick about, I am much less likely to prepare. I think the coming of Christ falls into all three of these categories, sometimes all at the same time. In my mind and in my heart, I have assurance that God will be faithful to His promise and that Christ is coming to take me to the place He is preparing for me. However, with that assurance comes the reminder that I must be prepared. My preparations for the arrival of Christ often fail. I know I’m going to fall short in my pursuit of sanctification so instead of leaning into the strength and grace that the Holy Spirit provides, I just call it quits. I don’t even try to imitate the example given by Christ. Or sometimes, I know what I need to be doing but I want so badly to do it myself that I don’t rely on the tools given to me by God. I neglect my time in His word and on my…

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Keeping Vigil For The Light Of The World: A Reflection On Winter And Advent

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. Traditionally, this is seen as the beginning of the new year in the Church Calendar. It is fitting that the year is birthed in waiting for the birth of our Messiah to come and bring light into the darkness of our world. Across the world, many churches lit the first candle in their advent wreath. I lit one on my table last night. Each week the light will grow and consume more of the darkness around it until finally, we lit the center candle and proclaim Christ’s birth. Today, my heart is called back to Genesis, to the beginning of time. I am remembering the beginning, the void, and the all-consuming darkness over it all. That is, until God spoke those simple words we learned in Sunday School, “Let there be light.” He spoke and the darkness ran. Out of nothing, came the light. Before the sun shone in the sky, the Son was already bringing light into the world. It seems very fitting to me that in the Northern Hemisphere, the place I grew up and call home, Advent comes in the darkest time of the year. Each day leading up to Christmas grows shorter and shorter and the darkness of the night consumes more and more of our life. As I sit and look out my window at the peaceful stillness of the night, I am reminded of the darkness of the beginning of the world. My new liturgical year begins in this darkness. It begins with remembering a time of bondage, of slavery. My days are filled with a longing that cries out for the deliverance of God. And some days, it is easy to wonder as the Israelites in Egypt did if God has forgotten me or is struggling to see where I am in all of this darkness. But as I light my first Advent candle, I remember that the Light is coming. The same Light that was present at the beginning of the world, the Light that preceded the sun, is illuminating my heart and chasing away the darkness. “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” -John 1:9-10 He is coming. He is here already but my friend, He is coming. May we keep vigil.…

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Download Your Free Copy of “His Name Shall Be Called” This Advent

My new Advent devotional, His Name Shall Be Called, is now available in The Thin Place Resource Library. Sign-up below to receive access to download the full devotional which includes 22 daily devotionals to take you from the start of Advent on December 3rd until Christmas Day. Each day focuses on a different name of our Lord Jesus and comes with a challenge to help live out your faith. When you sign-up to receive your free copy of His Name Shall Be Called, you will also receive access to the entire Thin Place Resource Library which is full of printable devotionals, liturgies, and wallpapers to help strengthen your walk with the Lord. In addition, you will also receive exclusive weekly updates and information on some of the resources that I am enjoying. When I began praying about where God wanted me to grow my writing this year, I kept feeling nudged towards an Advent devotional. I wanted something simple, something easy to incorporate into your days, but something that would center your heart and mine on the Incarnate Lord. It is my hope that we can journey through this Advent season together, relying on the strength and love of our Lord to soften our hearts and equip us for the good works He has prepared for us. It is my desire that this season be a meaningful time of year where we can press into Body of Christ and remember together the prayer that has been sung for centuries, “O come, O come Emmanuel.” Whether this is your first Advent or sixtieth, God is working this season. He is working in the waiting, in the quiet before the revelation, like He has since the dawn of time. These days are not unaccounted for but are carefully cultivated to lay a firm foundation for His glorious plan. Since the Fall of Mankind in Eden, God has been promising that He is sending us a Savior to redeem and restore all things. Between that initial promise and the first Christmas, there were many centuries of waiting and wondering where God was. Then, He was there, in a manger. Advent calls us to enter into the waiting and wondering. It is a season that stops our busy lives and, in the age of instant downloads and computers at our fingertips, makes us wait for something. So let us yearn this Christmas for the…

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25+ Resources For Your Best Advent Ever

Advent was a foreign principle to me until a few years ago. I jumped into the Christmas season as soon as the the clock struck midnight and signified that October was past and November had begun. It took many years for me to realize the significance of cultivating a longing for the birth of Christ. Now, I realize the benefit of seeking to develop a season not of celebration, but of yearing for the coming of Christ. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t do my fair share of celebrating throughout the season but I try to savor the waiting and to spend the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrating the first arrival of Christ and anticipating the day He returns. But this yearning doesn’t happen on its own. Left to itself, the draws of endless stream of commercialism and celebration would take over my heart. I have to cultivate a desire to long for Christ by what I allow into my home and my mind. The first year, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I ordered an Advent wreath for my table and fumbled through what I thought might be appropriate prayers as I lit the candles every night at dinner. It was a little awkward and very simple. But it was lovely. It created a space for the season of longing to be beautiful. Dinner by candlelight not only added a wonderful ambiance to our evenings, but brought our minds to a quieter place to reflect and draw near to God. It made me hungry for more and I began searching for ways to mark the Advent season as one of importance. I have found a few things over the years that I have loved and each year, I fall more in love with some of the ways God has moved the hearts of others to signify the season. That’s why I wrote His Name Shall Be Called. I wanted to create a resource to help you stop and center your heart around longing for Jesus and all that He is this Advent season. Here are a few other books and resources to help create a beautiful Advent season in your home. Some of the links below are affiliates meaning that I receive a small portion (at no extra cost to you) if you decide to purchase as a result. I promise to only post links to items…

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