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EDITOR LETTER THANKFUL
write this to you as I look out my window and beside me the street rests with an autumn haze off in the distance. Midday traffic from my second story building has gone quiet and I'm left alone with my thoughts. In my small box of words, what can I flicker up that won't allow you to forget what I'm going to say? And so, I pray a little. Ask for a word or more, and what arises to the surface is this: Everyday I am discovering my identity by the One who made me. In this season of pumpkin pie, I am thankful for being given my identity by God. Though the world sees me and sees you, we are not children of the world but that of our God. In this small box of words, I hope, rather, I pray when you feel like you don't belong, you remember you belong to God.
MADE STRANGERS FEEL LIK AND YOU WILL FOREV THIS ISSUE IS FO
KE THEY WERE YOUR FRIENDS. VER BE CELEBRATED. OR YOU, CHRIS.
lauren gieylen D E N V E R
C O L O R A D O
B Y L A U R E N G I L L E Y L E N We often look around and see people conquering life. Doing great things and stepping into the unknown. We ask ourselves why not me? Why can’t I be a part of something bigger? Well, I would in turn ask, Why not you? What makes you think you weren’t created for a great adventure? Dare to wonderto dreamthat maybe your greatest adventure lies not in your hands, but in the hands of the greatest Adventurer ever known. Just like many of us are jealous over our time with friends, family and personal relationships, the Creator of the Universe is jealous for our attention. He is jealous to be not just known in our lives, but the center of our lives just as He made us the center of His. He desires that we look to Him for our next steps in life, trusting Him in each season and staying close, because ultimately He has a role for you in His big plan. Yes, you! to love the world and serve the people around us. This is a role only you can play; a role that requires what your passions is, your talents, your testimony and your story. He is calling us to adventure away from what feel is comfortable and into the unknown. A place we must trust a place He shows himself present and close. About a year ago, I took one of the scariest and most exhilarating leaps of my life. I uprooted everything I knewwhere the closest grocery store was, my best friends, late night InNOut trips, my dream of working in Dallasand moved to Denver, CO. The problem with everything I knew? I thought it was mine. But Denver...Denver was His plan for me. Why on earth would I leave a place where I knew the streets and the people like the back of my hand? Because I was called to love and serve Denver. I was asked to step into a season of trust and adventure, whichbelieve meis easier said than done! It was made clear to me that my next step was to use what God had given me, a love for people not interested in
ANGELICTESTIMONY "HE DESIRES THAT WE LOOK TO HIM FOR OUR NEXT STEPS IN LIFE, TRUSTING HIM IN EACH SEASON AND STAYING CLOSE" “church,” those that did not want anything to do with the “typical judgmental Christians,” those that felt a void in their life, but didn't know how to fill it or why it was there, to help a church plant starting in the urban area. This was not exactly what I was thinking God’s plan would be for my life. I had just graduated college with a business degree and was seeking out job opportunities in the Dallas area. I desired to be a part of the business world, to use my skills in a corporate setting. Or, so I thought. Before I graduated, however, I wanted to make sure I checked my own plans against God’s. Warning to others: praying this prayer will probably change your life. “Lord, I don’t want to go anywhere without you. I know Your Word says the steps of the righteous are ordered by You. Wherever you want me in this next season, I will go…” Yeah, that was probably one the scariest things I’ve ever prayed because, well....He takes us up on our request. God isn’t one to take things lightly, I suppose. Nevertheless, let me encourage youwhat I’ve discovered is that even though what He reveals to you might seem like the craziest, most daunting task, a calling that requires a boldness that we feel we might not possess, it’s worth it. It’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. Moving to Denver was one of the greatest, hardest, growing experiences of my life. It humbled me in so many ways and reminded me that His plan for me often doesn’t seem like what I had imagined. It’s actually a part of something greater. I stand here to tell you that on the other side of what God is calling you to is something worth the leap! I would not be who I am right now, or have met the people that I did, or made an impact where I was supposed to without saying “yes”. Through this journey I have met many who said they would never step foot inside a church, many who hated Christians and many who didn't know C O N T I N U E D O N N E X T P A G E
the truth about what it means to know the Lord and have a relationship with Him. After being here a year, I have seen multiple people join our church and call it “home” a word they would never have put together otherwise, I have cultivated deep genuine relationships with people that think very differently than me, and some still do we are still close. I’ve had the words said to me “I was done with Christians, hated God but knew something existed all until I met you..now I know something is out there I want to find the truth” It’s about giving up what we think we want, and walking into what He has intended for us since the beginning. All he has called us to be a new thing, an uncomfortable thing, a season of growth and newness. A season we were called for.
1. What inspires your photography style? My photography style is inspired by people, places, and moments that are altogether raw, unedited, and true to themselves. I want to preserve moments for what they are and not style them to be something different. 2. What is your dream photoshoot/session? Oh my gosh! I love this! Let’s just say there would be a forest, a couple madly in love wearing Oscar worthy gowns and tuxes, and a light snow fall. I just love, love. 3. Photography is art. What does your art say? I would like to think that my art says “come as you are, you are worthy and beautiful”. 4. What do aspire to achieve with photography? I hope to make people feel beautiful and valued. I want people to feel important and that their moments and their lives mean something. I want people to look back on their photos and smile.
BRYN MASSEY PHOTOGRAPHER Q
g i v e m
THE DEVIL TRIED T MAKE ME KILL AND PLAY ME LIK LIKE A JIG PAY ME WI PAY ME WIT PROMISE ME BUT LEAVE ME
SUFFOC AND FEAST ON TEMPT ME WITH MAKE ME FEEL INSE
I'M GONNA FIGH
THE DEVIL TRIED T TO LOSE I'LL NEVER GIV
JESUS CAME TO SO I CAN LIVE IT JESUS SHOWED GUIDANCE, GAVE TO EX TO FULFILL AND DO AMAZ TO BE FULL OF LOVE AND
JESUS CAME TO
e l i f e
TO MAKE ME A DEAL E STEAL D DESTROY KE A PUPPET G AND A TOY ITH PAIN TH VIOLENCE E THE WORLD E IN SILENCE CATE ME N MY EMOTIONS WORLDLY POTIONS ECURE AND NERVOUS
HT THROUGH THIS
TO MAKE ME A DEAL MY SOUL VE HIM CONTROL
O GIVE ME LIFE T MORE ABUNDANTLY ME EXCEPTANCE E ME EXPECTANCE XPECT L MY DREAMS ZING THINGS D HELP PEOPLE FIND LIFE
O GIVE ME LIFE
S E V E N T H H O U
h h our
R M U S I C
C O M
1. What does worship mean to you? Taking a time and space to come before our G can be celebration and it can be mourning and humble heart before our God.
2. What motivates you to sing/make music Ultimately, it’s God’s perfect love for us dem well as seeing people both far and near from through worship! This can look very differen that helps guide and direct our creative expre
3. What are your music influences? Lately, Hillsong Young & Free / Bethel Musi Mosaic MSC / Mutemath / Kings Kaleidosco
4. What separates you from other worship We've been playing together for over 10 year have succeeded and failed together more time helps us be unified in our approach, mission, best.
God and be vulnerable before him. Worship d everything in between, but it starts with a
c for Jesus? monstrated on the cross that motivates us, as Him move towards Jesus and his presence nt depending on the group and context, but essions
ic / LANY / TYCHO / Citizens & Saints / ope
p bands? rs. We've learned and grown together, and es than we can count. We feel like that bond and pursuit of excellence to give God our
"WORSHIP CAN BE CELEBRATION AND IT CAN BE MOURNING AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN, BUT IT STARTS WITH A HUMBLE HEART BEFORE OUR GOD."
ZACH FOTY (GUITAR/VOCALS/PROGRAMMING) KARI RICKENBACH (VOCALS) JOEY REYCRAF
(ELECTRIC GUITAR/KEYS/BG VOCALS/ETC.) COLLIN SCHULTZ (BASS) JOSH KEENAN (DRUMS)
Covered in your love PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA LODIEN MODEL
COVERED IN YOUR LOVE B Y N I C O L E R A U M
Yesterday I was dry bones, wandering in the desert. Yesterday I was thirsty, living in the drought. Yesterday I was weary, searching after the meaning Behind all of our suffering, behind all of the hurt. Lord come bring us your Healing. Lord come bring us your Healing. Lord come bring us your Healing, Fill this place. You know all of our hurting, You know every burden. You will lay our weary heads to rest. You lead us by still waters, We lie down in green pastures, Covered by the Blood, Covered in your Love.
"LET US NEVER SHY AWAY FROM SHARING WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH OUR SUFFERING. INVITE THE ONE INTO YOUR EXPERIENCE, LET THEM SEE WHAT YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH AND LET GOD SHOW HOW HE IS STILL IN CONTROL."
I wrote that a couple days ago. I was burdened by the pain of the world and desperately needed the Lord to give us rest. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming. There’s so much noise from the world, telling you what you need and why you’re not good enough. Noise from people, telling you what they think and how they would fix it. Noise from yourself, telling you how you could’ve prevented it. But in the end we don’t need more noise, we need healing, we need rest. There’s nothing we could say that could communicate the full extent of Christ’s love. There are no words that could convey the quieting of your soul when He enters the room. This is why it is so important for us to be honest and vulnerable with our suffering. We need to reach out to the One out of the 99, but let us not forget that we are all the One. There is not a day that we don’t need saving. We all know suffering, but only some of us know suffering with Jesus. Let us never shy away from sharing what God is doing through our suffering. Invite the One into your experience, let them see what you’re struggling with and let God show how He is still in control. Our world is so full of words that have lost their meaning. To the One, perhaps I wouldn’t say anything. The most powerful thing might be just to show them where they can find true rest. To walk with them in their suffering and continually point them to their Healer. Show them what it means to love others by loving them. Show them what it means to be valued, show them that it is okay to be a mess. That no one has it figured out, and Christ doesn’t need you to put yourself back together before He wants you. Pray over them, show them the promises the Lord has for their future. Pull them out of their loneliness and show them they have a home. Lead by example as you run to the cross, encourage them as they run beside you. Encourage them to throw off the weight of the world, throw off the weight of their sin. Throw off everything until all that’s left is your heart, and let the Lord hold your heart for the rest of your days.
HOLD ON P
HOPE FO HOPE FOR NO MORE NO MORE NO MORE PAIN OF
HOLD ON P
BLESSINGS LET YOUR FAITH SPIRITS, WIL KNOWING THE BEST
HOLD ON P
WALK BY FIGHT TH STAND I SEEK TH PAIN OF TODAY PRAYERS OF PEACE
HOLD ON P HO
OR TODAY TOMORROW E SORROW E REGRET HAPPINESS UNMET
ARE COMING H START SHOWING LL BE GLOWING IN LIFE IS COMING
Y FAITH HE FIGHT IN TRUTH HE LIGHT Y WILL GO AWAY ALWAYS FIND A WAY
PAIN ENDS OPE
PÂ ursued PHOTOGRAPHY BY BROOKE NICHOLSON MODEL
TO BE FRANK
B Y J O N N Y G O R A S H
Why do I pursue Christ? No, not why should I pursue Christ, but why do I actually pursue Him? Seriously, what's the reason? Why do I try to read scripture daily? Why do I speak with my Father throughout the day? Why do I get together with my friends and sing to Him? Why do I think about Him in my car and blast music that describes Him? Why do I watch videos of people dissecting his words and try creating art that I believe pleases Him? I don't know. I'm not entirely sure, really. It's a lot to consider. There's a great depth there to search through and I'm not sure I've ever purposefully explored it before. I believe that I've been created to glorify God; to laud His character and conform myself to it. I believe pursuing Christ is the only way to fulfill that. That's head knowledge: what I know to be true. But… to be frank about my motivations, there are a lot of shameful reasons for why I do the things I do. At times, I read scripture because it's good for me; I attend church services because my friends are there; I sing praises because it's fun; I help others because that's the right thing to do. These aren't bad reasons at all, but are they the best? No, because Christ gets lost in all of it. I want to be the one that pursues Christ because of love, fascination, and desire. To devour His words because He created the very concepts of language and thought; to speak with Him because He loves my voice, though He gave the wind, birds, and seas their songs; to pursue Him because He pursued me to death. He didn't have to, but He wanted to. He doesn't need my sorry attempts at poetry, but He wants them. He doesn't need my pitchchallenged songs, but He loves them. I pursue Him because He’s incredible, really. I want to know Him because He conjured matter and time. I chase Him because everything else is a shadow. I need Jesus because… because I need to know Him. Nothing else will do. Nothing will satisfy. He is all there is, was, and will be.
HE LOVES YOU DEEPER THAN THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA. T here is always someone willing to assign our value, like a car off the showroom floor or a new home in the perfect neighborhood, even our boss. At some point the new home or the career were the subject of someone’s dreams, the one thing that would define happiness and status. We often put ourselves in tremendous debt for these merits of measure. Yet nothing we buy will create a lasting sense of significance. The car gets a few dings, the upholstery shows wear, and there’s that noise we haven’t been able to identify. I have had seasons in life of spiritually feeling like that old car. It never starts out that way, no, rather when you first decide to follow Jesus and accept Him as Savior there is often a feeling that we would show Peter up when it comes to walking out to Christ on the water. Heck, we may even skip to Jesus while the waves crash around us. This is our moment of childlike faith and it feels good. Really good. Not long after, however, life reminds us that we live on land and with that comes rugged terrain, climate change, and natural disaster. My faith now resembles a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book and I tell Jesus to strapin the passenger seat as I try to maneuver us through these rough patches. Suddenly, my once new car isn’t quite the eyecatcher it started out as and I have assigned Jesus the duties of copilot rather than Captain of my life. Something about Jesus I’ve learned as my relationship with Him has a few more miles is that He doesn’t complain like a backseat driver. He never criticizes when I’ve made the wrong turn from the passenger seat, either. No, instead He smiles when I look to Him, admitting I have taken a detour down a road
B Y D A L L A S S C O T T
"I HAVE HAD SEASONS IN LIFE OF SPIRITUALLY FEELING LIKE THAT OLD CAR. IT NEVER STARTS OUT THAT WAY, NO, RATHER WHEN YOU FIRST DECIDE TO FOLLOW JESUS AND ACCEPT HIM AS SAVIOR THERE IS OFTEN A FEELING THAT WE WOULD SHOW PETER UP WHEN IT COMES TO WALKING OUT TO CHRIST ON THE WATER."
that I was never meant to travel. He tells me He loves me as if I have never ignored His presence or direction. When I pull over to trade seats, He fills in the potholes I have created in my heart like only He can. I am made whole; new again. As He steers, the closeness I once enjoyed is abundant again. The roads feel much smoother the more we talk. I notice the scars in His hands as He turns the wheel. It is then I am reminded of the pain He willingly suffered just to share this ride with me. “Why?” I muster out. “Why would you do that for me?” “Because you are most valuable to me”, He replies. Friend, Jesus says the same thing about you. He loves you deeper than the depths of the sea. He carries your picture in His wallet, has your photo on His refrigerator. If you’re lost or you’ve been traveling in the opposite direction for far too many miles, pull over. Jesus has been waiting for you since the day you were born.
MY LETTER TO YOU B Y L U K E D A N I E L D O W N E S
Luke Daniel, I know what you’re going through and feeling, I know how people are treating you. I know how outgoing you are on the outside, yet empty on the inside. People love you for the mask you put on that day, whether it be at a raging party or in a bible study; people see the actor you are and love your exterior. But it’s all a deception; all a ruse. No one knows who you are. No one knows you haven’t gotten out of bed in three days because of depression and anxiety. People don’t see you are failing out of an engineering program, and that program is seemingly the only reason your parents talk to you. They tell you how proud they are of the young man you’ve become and how impressed with the way you are working. They don’t know what’s going on underneath, no one does, because you won’t let them in. I’m writing you now as an encouragement, to show you have far you’ve come in the last two years. To prove to you that it will get better; that people want to know who YOU are and not just about what mask you have on that day. That before anyone loved you for your accomplishments or your grades, someone looked at the depressed, upset and scared boy cowering under his covers and said, “I love him, just as he is.” You don’t know about the people praying for you, you don’t know why there are a few people who just seem to love you no matter what you do. You don’t know your Savior is living inside of those people showing them who you are to Him. Growing up in the church you knew all the rules and commandments, you sang the song in VBS and prayed “the prayer” out of fear. What you don’t yet see, Luke, is love; you don’t see your identity in Christ. You don’t know that the Father chose you in him before the creation of the world. If I could just show you the beautiful way that Jesus reached out his hand to you, and pulled you out of a toxic environment and set you up with his children who taught you how valuable you were; that you were worth suffering and dying on a cross for; that your performance and how you look on any specific day does not determine your love; that you are a son. Out of God’s mercy, He left the 99 to come save you. I may not be able to go back in time and give you this. But maybe someone in the same position will get a hold of this letter and know they are loved when “no one” sees them. Love, Luke Daniel
No me wit
ALONE NEVER I HAVE JES THERE'S NO ME JESUS I
SURRE MAKE MY SEEK YOUR HEART IS
TRANSF CONFO TO YOU EQUI MAKE MY VO
THERE'S NO ME JESUS I
ALONE NEVER I HAVE JES
R WILL I BE SUS WITH ME E WITHOUT YOU NEED YOU
ENDER MIND NEW WHAT I WANT TO DO
FORM ME ORM ME UR WORD IP ME OICE HEARD
E WITHOUT YOU NEED YOU
R WILL I BE SUS WITH ME
WORN. WEARY. AFRAID. OVERWORKED. OVERLOOKED. FORGOTTEN.
B Y E M I L Y C H A F I N
hese are all ways we have felt at some point in life. Maybe you feel this way now. Maybe you feel you’re walking down a path that’s difficult, hard to put one foot in front of another, tough to just keep going. But that difficult path may be the easiest route for you to walk at the moment because it’s the only direction you’ve felt you could go. After all, you feel alone and changing directions isn’t easily accomplished by yourself. But you’re not alone. That doesn’t have to be the direction you continue nor does your heart have to walk along that path alone. All along you’ve been sought after, wanted, longed for by Jesus. It may not seem like it when you feel you are at your lowest, but that’s when He wants you. And when you’re feeling your best, He also wants you then. There’s never a condition you must meet for Jesus to accept you. He accepts you as you are: broken, full of life, or any point in between. He wants you and all the pieces of you, even the shattered ones. God has seen you from the beginning and God will see you through this, whatever it may be. He’s the piece that has been missing from your heart, the Healer who can put those shattered pieces back together. We wonder but we are never lost. We stray but we are never forgotten. And when we find our way home, we are celebrated beyond anything we can imagine. I have wondered and strayed. I have felt discouraged and forgotten. I have longed to be remembered, wanted even, and all along I was but I chose not to see it. Jesus wants us to know His love and, friend, I want you to feel His love just like I do. There are no conditions. No stipulations. No need to fix yourself first. He wants you to come to Him so He can give you rest and show you
love. He can strengthen and uphold you. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 We will face times where we feel we’re not worthy of God’s glory and goodness. But in those dark moments, we are sought after, wanted, and longed for by Him. And when we realize how valuable we truly are to our Father, we can then accept the beauty of this life, even in the darkest of times. There’s not one of us, you or I included, God wants to forget. He will never overlook you even when you want to be overlooked. So don’t overlook yourself because you can’t see beyond the path you’re on. You are His child, His beloved child, and He wants to walk with you.
WHAT WOULD I SAY TO THE ONE PERSON OUT OF THE NINETY NINE?
B Y H A N N A H V A U G H N
How many things could flood in to consciousness as I scream out to my brother who is walking in to the woods: away from the cottoned sheep, the grass that cushions hooves, streams with infused sweetness that sticks to your tongue and pours down throats only provided and guided by the shepherd. My screams would ring void and vague if I used my frail voice to yell out to the One. My voice is empty; it breathes the grave without purpose or meaning unless it is filled with the pursuit of the shepherd. Unless it is dripping with the honeyed
voice named Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit would call, to the One, perhaps even whisper on a whim what my brother would hear so precisely that it strikes a cord, penetrates past stone of heart and straight to the fleshy pains. To the One: the one whose pursuits has caused bruises, gashes, wounds that are so deep the mind has focused its attention on the sticks he steps over, the rocks he trips over and not the gapping hole on his skin. I would whisper; My soul will not reject you. My darling, you are my love, come to me. Lay down and rest your head on my thighs and let me stroke your hairline, let me sing over you my lullaby. I would raise my hands to Glory and say to the One he is loved.
IT IS DRIPPING WITH THE HONEYED VOICE NAMED HOLY SPIRIT. HOLY SPIRIT WOULD CALL, TO THE ONE, PERHAPS EVEN WHISPER ON A WHIM WHAT MY BROTHER WOULD HEAR SO PRECISELY THAT IT STRIKES A CORD, PENETRATES PAST STONE OF HEART AND STRAIGHT TO THE FLESHY PAINS."
THANKSGIVING B Y K A Y T I E G A U S
People without water. Children not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Men going years without work. Mothers taking on both the role of a mother and a father. Populations living in war zones. Groups seeking refuge. Nations struggling to rebuild. Addicts searching for their next hit. Groups feeling judged by their race. Wives worrying about their husbands in their lines of work. Men worrying about their wives at home. Kids without parents. Innocent people losing their lives. Criminals on the loose. Countries being struck with natural disasters. Nations at war. A world losing a sense of hope. As we enter a time of Thanksgiving, I think it is important to reflect and pray for those who might feel they don't have anything to be thankful for. I can tend to get caught up in my own holiday bubble and forget about situations unfolding around me. If you fit a description from the list above, know I will be praying for you especially hard this coming season. Each and everyone of us has something to be thankful for if we would open our hearts and be receptive of Jesus' love. We have a hope. His name is Jesus. And he is coming again.
Beauty of God COUPLE: KATRINA CAIN AND ANDREW MCMILLAN LOCATION: PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK PHOTOGRAPHER: BROOKE TAELOR PHOTOGRAPHY
HOLDING FREEDOM B Y M I C H E L L E C O P P I N I
A canvas worn bag is slung across my back. Shoulder straps stretched with their burden of holding this bag. Each stitch visibly pulled tight with the strained task of holding it together. (The struggle is real.) In this bag are many things. Dreams. Hopes. Fears. Desires. Failures. Successes. Memories and thoughts that have been permanently etched in my mind and heart. Each one wired in sometime during my 33 years of life. Some of these thoughts are good. Very good. Vibrant thoughts that match up to golden truths and lend themselves to being highly motivating for a full life. Carrying these golden bits of information is pure joy. Remembering them is inspiration and mulling them over one by one is a precious reminder of the beauty all around me and hope for beauty to come.
But in m pockets c this pack method o One that in. Thoughts claim “I c in those s somethin
my pack a heaviness remains. In it’s depths are hidden covering weights too dense for my shoulders to bare or k to hold. Oh, they motivate and persuade but theirs is of fear. A voice of bondage and message of hopelessness. restrains the freedom this heart was meant to operate
s that seek to ruin the beauty God is creating. Ones that cannot love myself until I lose weight”. Until…I fit back skinny jeans. Until… I am at my healthiest. Until I “see” ng desirable when I stand in front of the mirror.
Thoughts that make me fear food and operate in frantic control to prevent the over eating that is sure to ensue. Thoughts are rooted in my worth (or lack of). Black thoughts that morph what should be healthy criticism into ugly self deprecating comparison that pulls my inspiration into the dark valley of “never going to be good enough”. Some of these thoughts are so deeply imprinted in my mind that, if I’m being completely honest, I thought I would never be free of them. I thought I had to “manage” or learn to live WITH them because complete freedom from these strong holds was something for other people but something forever out of my reach. Coexisting was my only option. I had dealt with them too long. (Generations before me struggling with the same bondage). I would simply learn to manage them better. Fight them with self motivating discipline and strict regimen. A few months ago Holy and I started a new journey. One of deep digging through this ruck sack. My heart and mind laid bare before Him, in what seemed like the hundredth time, but this time I hear Him speak. He spoke freedom. When He speaks worlds are created, stars are placed, oceans swell, light appears and darkness banishes. When He speaks there is life. When He speaks, IT IS, because He spoke it. When Holy Spoke “free” over some of these thoughts I looked at Him with with the disbelief I’m sure Sarai held. (Holy gently told me He can do a lot with mustard size faith so I shouldn’t worry.) 2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Freedom is a gift. A gift that banishes from my pack the ill placed memories that do not breed life. The lies that I believe about myself, God and others. The ones that weigh down my heart and place strain on a full good life. I am on this journey with my creator. Step by step walking in this freedom that exists (He said and I’m believing it). It is a process. One of daily conversation as I dig up the deep roots in these hidden pockets. One of daily planting and tending good seeds (the ones I was created to grow).One of relational discovery as He gently reveals the hidden weeds that need to be tossed out and burned.
He is stronger than these thoughts. He is stronger than my strongholds. As He takes His rightful place as Lord over all these areas in my life I feel my burden lifting. My load is lightening. I see the freedom He has offered and I claim it as mine. I stare at the revealed burdens and claim, with God given Authority, that they WILL NOT remain. I glance at these memories in my hands. Insignificant motivators that have reeked havoc on my heart for too long. His hands wrap around mine and these memories shrink. Dissolving to their rightful place in the world. One that does not have sway on my heart and mind. With Him, these thoughts are small and the burden is lighter. My pack returning to its joyous load. It is the feeling of weightless release. One of sea breeze and open ocean air. This is what Hope feels like. This is what it’s like to hold freedom.
andrea larscheid testi
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIANA LEE
ANGELICTESTIMONY The Beautiful “Over There” B Y A N D R E A L A R S C H E I D
In John Green’s critically acclaimed novel Looking for Alaska he writes, “Thomas Edison's last words were 'It's very beautiful over there.' I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.” With bags packed and back turned, the search began. Countries and cities endlessly explored, a series of cultures divulged and countless, diverse human interactions left the search for that beautiful “over there” with a lack of fulfillment. Confusion set in as my soul began to turn cold, hard and weak. Something was merely missing but I didn’t know what I was searching for. Hoping for a sign, landscape or feeling that would resolve the wandering commotion in my heart, a revelation was granted. The years of tireless running and abandonment had lead to one simple conclusion that without God, there is no beautiful “over there,” because He is it. Matthew 11: 2830 states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This is the light that has found me in the deepest and darkest corners of the world that I have built and rescued me. The previously relentless search for the infamous beautiful “over there” I once read about, has lead me time and time again to His heavenly throne. The girl who ran at every opportunity, refused to let her walls down, and let the Heavenly Father in has been set free. Humility has opened these eyes to a beautiful “over there,” that is in fact everywhere. It has no boundaries and does not boast in pride. Psalm 86:15 reads, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” His constant faithfulness, forgiveness and steadfast love are why I have continually surrendered at the foot of the cross. However, it has taken me a long time to come to this realization. For years I would tell my friends and believe I was unworthy of this great promise He makes to us. I used to tell them that I felt “God was angry with me and disappointed in me.” Running away and denying His love and care for me was somehow easier than accepting it. For each time I ran, I was not the same person. I became lost, despaired, harsh and cruel. Life simply was always harder. I refused to walk with the Lord for the longest time because I didn’t want to be held accountable for my actions. Being miserable became comfortable and when I felt His unveiling joy in the midst of my despair, I couldn’t bring myself to believe it to be true. How could He come time and time again to rescue someone like me? One day, I stopped. I stopped making Him fight for my attention, for it is merely His and His alone. While this journey with Him is far from over, I have chosen to release my heavy burdens onto Him and let His will be done. The only true supplement and fulfillment of life is through Him. The day I decided to stop ignoring what I had been taught all my life, the stress and anxiety dispersed and I finally ended my search for the beautiful “over there” because I have found what I unknowingly was looking for and He has found me. After years of faltering, the slate has been swept clean. Just as 2 Corinthians 5:17 writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here!” A renowned masterpiece has been created. As it is said, “Some people are artists. Some themselves are art.” He is the artist and we are His beautiful art. Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”
THEY CALL ME BECAUSE I'M I LIKE AND SAY I HAVE NO SH JES
I WEAR HIS CROS I STAY I AND KEEP HE GIVES M WHEN I I'M NOT TO BE A J
SO I PREACH THE GO HE GIVES AND PAID MY HEIST I
EVERLAST FOR LIVING TH JES
I'LL BECOME SO BY AL I MIGHT S
A JESUS FREAK M SO UNIQUE TO SPEAK HIS NAME HAME TO SAY
SS AROUND MY NECK IN FAITH IN CHECK ME STRENGTH AM WEAK ASHAMED JESUS FREAK
OSPEL FOR MY CHRIST ME GRACE MY PRICE IS ETERNITY TING LIFE HE WORD OF HE SUS
ALL THINGS LL MEANS SAVE SOME
LoftÂ Worship P R A I S E A N D W O R S H I P NIJKERK, NETHERLANDS
Q + A "WORSHIP IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR FAITH IN JESUS. IT IS OUR WAY TO SEEK HIS FACE, PRAISE HIS NAME AND THANK HIM FOR ALL THE BLESSINGS IN OUR LIVES."
1. What does worship mean to you? Worship is such an important part of our faith in Jesus. It is our way to seek His face, praise His name and thank Him for all the blessings in our lives. We believe in the necessity to have a secret place where we can pray and seek Jesus. We all have this individually, but we also wanted to do this corporately. We wanted to create a place where people can worship God with all of their hearts. Twice a month we organize worship events that are focused on worshipping God, experiencing His love, listen to what the Holy Spirit wants to do and to see Heaven invade earth. 2. What motivates you to sing music for Jesus? To be honest there are so many reasons for this. Main reason is our thankfulness for what Jesus has done and still does for us. Secondly we are aware of the power that Worship can bring to peoples lives. We had so many testimonies of people getting physically healed and have been set free from addictions and anxieties during worship sessions. We want so see Jesus move more and more and spread Jesus his love and goodness all over the world. 3. What are your music influences? Our main influence is Bethel Music but there are so many people and bands who inspired us like Jesus Culture, Hillsong United, Kari Jobe, Misty Edwards etc. 4. How do you see God moving in your country? We see such a hunger for the love of Jesus and meeting Him trough worship. It feels like a privilege to be used by our good Father for this purpose. People often travel a long way to be at a Loft Worship night. We see that people open up and give themselves to Jesus. We stimulate them to bring the Kingdom to their own towns, homes and lives. 5. Where can our American audience see and/or hear your music? We post a lot of stuff on youtube, Facebook and Instagram. Last year we've recorded our first album (Reveal Your Kingdom), which is available on iTunes and on Spotify.
So welcome ho
B Y H A N N A
We need you in the family of God. There’s a far you’ve run, no matter the scenery that cur See, here in the fold, we’re all individual sto And we have room for one more. Just like you, we trusted in our own way for to our own truth for too long. Just like you, we w would bring our destruction for too long. Just and allowed Him to intervene in the mess. Just And when He brings you back, we can swap s of selfreliance, and gave us one of comple ourselves feel better or make you feel less tha can be part of the chosen; the sought after. You lost but now is found. Though we all share a similar journey, ther reminds us each day that we are special. But no The world says you are special because you h whatever you want. The world says you are s wherever it lead you, regardless of the pote special because you have the identity they ga always having to try harder. The world says yo of many stories that are overlooked and forgot your own path alone, ignoring those who might But the world left you behind. And He came after you. Receive His help. Let His embrace bring you w be possible. Let Him carry you to safety and while you ran off, grasping at the wind. Embrace a new reality; a reality of peace. Peac Peace in community. Peace within. And like we said, though a bit selfishly, we wa of God. The you He created you to become. U hope to offer, and love to receive. So welcome home, dear one.
ome, dear one.
H T H O M A S
place here at the table for you. No matter how rrently surrounds you, He can bring you back. ories of forgiveness and redemption and hope.
oo long. Just like you, we were far off seeking were passionately pursuing the very things that like you, we saw our lives for what they were like you, we were rescued. stories of the day He retrieved us from that life ete dependence on Him. This isn’t to make an, but to show you that you’re not alone. You u will be given a new identity as one who was
re is nothing ordinary about us. Because He ot in the way the world told you that you were. have crafted a life based upon the ability to do special because you have followed your heart ential consequences. The world says you are ave you – the one of never measuring up, of ou are special though you feel just like one out tten. The world says you are special for forging t have truly loved and cared.
warmth and comfort you never imagined could d security that you desired but never achieved
ce in fellowship with Him.
ant you here because we need you in the family Unique, and gifted, and full of stories to share,
MyÂ heart MODELS: HOPE BOONE
+ ZACH MATTERN
FLORIST: CELESTE GILLESPIE PHOTOGRAPHER: KALI M PHOTOS LOCATION:
HE DESIRES MY HEART MORE THAN HE DESIRES MY WORDS B Y A N G I E L A N G
sit in the chapel a lot, these days. It’s usually empty when I arrive, and I listen to the hum of the air beating its way through the sanctuary. The stained glass above catches the sun as it drifts into the empty pews, and I watch the mosaic tiles by the altar glisten in response. There is something in me that is shifting, that is changing as I enter this place. I focus less on my words these days, and more on my breathing. More on the heartbeat and the breath that gives me life, knowing the source is Him. When you’re a lover of words, it’s easy to let words be enough. It’s easy to whisper out prayers. But I am learning that thanksgiving is not just about words. It requires an offering. I hold open hands to Him, as if to invite my body into a posture of praise. All the earth is His, Psalm 50 tell us – if He is hungry, the birds and all that move are His. No, what He asks of us requires our whole being. Not something outside of ourselves – but our heart. An offering of thanksgiving. He asks for a heart that invites Him into the lonely places, and still blesses His name. He asks for a heart that holds empty hands and whispers God alone is enough. He asks for a heart that is broken in two but trusts that He is the Healer. Thanksgiving requires open hands and an invitation to show us He is where we least expect Him to be. He is in the broken places, the darkened corners, the empty hands. And He is still enough. He is always enough. So I hold open hands in the empty chapel, and light dances across them. He desires my heart more than He desires my words, and so painfully, truthfully, I offer it to Him.