To The Young Life Leader Who I Could Not Have Found God Without

To The Young Life Leader Who I Could Not Have Found God Without

You're a perfect example of the love that He has for us. Thank you for helping me find and accept Him.
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As a sophomore in high school, I had just transferred to a new school. Fortunately, I had a few friends who had decided to attend this high school all four years and weren't starting a clean slate. But, even though I had a few close friends, I didn't know anyone really. This was the same year that I had been invited to attend Young Life, found the friends that I am closest to today and met someone who changed my life forever: Brittany Rimmer. Brittany was my Young Life leader in high school and without her, I never would have found Him.

Brittany,

From the time that I began Young Life during my sophomore year, you were nothing but welcoming to each and every person who came to join. You were so enthusiastic to meet me and anyone else and equally, if not more, enthused to teach us about Him. Meeting you was so incredible. Having someone who genuinely cared for me and what was going on in my life was incredible.

You have such an amazing soul. Your fire for the Lord shows in all of the work that you do for Him. And without you, I never would have found Him. His love is proven through the work you have done and will continue to do, the way you light up when you speak His word and through your everyday life.

You were the one who I first told that I had accepted Him. I remember the night so clearly. The speaker from camp had us spend time sitting in silence outside somewhere to pray and talk to Him. During this twenty minutes, I sat beside the lake and opened up about my life and was brutally honest with myself and Him. It was a chilly night at Lake Champion, but warmth washed over me as I prayed and asked for forgiveness. Afterward, you and I talked in the stairway of our cabin about that night, and as I admitted that I had accepted Him, emotions took over and I cried tears of happiness.

Thank you for the endless love that you have given to me and the rest of Young Life. You truly care about each and every person you have come across. You care about their life, their problem's and their faith. Thank you for teaching me about His love. Each and every time that we spoke about Him in club or campaigners, you spoke with such confidence in His love. Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication that you put into making our Young Life community everything that it is today.

You supported, and continue to support, each and every individual. You came to countless sporting events that you had youth participating in or attending. You were always a text or a phone call away when someone needed advice, including the endless times that you were there for me. You still talk to the individuals that you had in Young Life whether that is by a text, phone call, or meeting up.

You inspired so many young souls. Look at how many of the people in our little community came to be leaders! You taught us about God and created that strong base in our faith that we needed to pursue being a leader. I know this semester I wasn't able to pursue the path of being a leader, but I plan on doing so next spring. And I would never have had the confidence to pursue that or the love that I have for Him without you.

Brittany, thank you for all that you have done for me, the other students who came to Young Life and the individuals around the world that you have touched through doing His work. You have been so successful in spreading the love and Word of God. You truly are an inspiration.

Thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Jaime Salai

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I'm Tired Of Trendy Christianity

Life with Jesus is so much more than one big coffee break.
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Okay, you're a Christian. After all, you have all of the tools you need.

You have your densely highlighted and underlined Bible, your Eno, your Chacos, your Patagonia backpack and of course, your beloved Camelbak or Nalgene water bottle that is covered in name-brand stickers.

Your days consist of going outside, chilling in your Eno and blasting "Oceans" by Hillsong and "Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. Your room is decorated with lots of inspirational quotes, maps with variations of "send me" close by and probably some pictures of your last mission trip. Your Instagram page is full of pictures of your friends that are "gems," captions of how thankful you are for certain things and pictures of the last country you visited that say "take me back."

Oh, and you might have a tattoo in Greek.

Okay, if you know me, you know that I literally just described myself. So, when I say what I'm about to, I'm not bashing anyone at all. I am guilty of all of these things and God has really laid these things on my heart that I've found myself doing time after time.

It seems that in the time we live in, if you're going to be a Christian, you have to have all of the right things, and I'm tired of it. Christianity is not about having a certain look or personality, but about having a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what being in a relationship with Christ actually looks like. I'm here to tell you that it's not anything like what I described.

Being in a relationship with Christ is not easy, and it's certainly not the most trendy thing out there (maybe on your college campus, but not in the real world.) It's about surrendering everything you have to a God who sent his son to be crucified for things you've done wrong.

It's more than just drinking designer coffee and Bible journaling and "being intentional."

It's about finding peace and joy in spending time with our creator. I know a lot of people just like me who fit the stereotype perfectly who have some of the deepest, most meaningful relationships with Christ, but I also know a lot of people who fit the stereotype who are just faking it.

I'm so tired of people who do not know Christ thinking that they have to have a certain look or personality about them and it hinders them from running into the loving arms of Jesus. We've made Christianity a club, and that's not okay. We have taken God's beauty and grace and made a fad out of it.

So, friends, I'm not saying that we can't have these things and still be Christians (because honestly, I like the way I live life with these things I've been given, and this is just who I am,) but I am saying that having these things are not what makes us Christians. So, be careful how you live out your walk.

Are you just doing it to be trendy, or do you have a deep and meaningful relationship with Christ?

Walking with Jesus is more than just a big coffee break.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr/Psalm Thirty Seven Four

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I'm A Christian Who Practices Yoga And That's Okay

Yoga and Jesus: Is it possible?

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I have a confession: I am a Christian who practices yoga daily. I even teach it twice a week. It may not seem like a big deal, but to some, my yoga practice is considered demonic or blasphemous to my faith. I understand why other Christians hold this belief. Yoga is rooted in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. Christians do not believe in actively practicing any other religion but Christianity, and monotheistic doctrine is 100% scriptural.

But, it is important to remember that in today's Western culture, many of the specifically religious parts of yoga have been stripped to offer a more inclusive approach to the exercises. To be honest, I have never attended a yoga class in which I felt pressured to conform to the ways of another religion. Yoga teachers see the melting pot of races and religions that walk into the studio every day and know that they have to make class inclusive or they won't have any students! I like to compare yoga to the Christmas tree. Christmas trees definitely have pagan origins, but Christians across America put up a Christmas tree to celebrate Jesus' birth. Although we are aware of the original purpose of the tree, we are also aware that such old traditions mean very little to society today. Yoga is a similar situation.

Most Christians who practice yoga know of its origins but also understand that hundreds of years have separated the practice from its original intent.

When I take a yoga class, I have a very specific mindset that I try to enter each time I approach the mat. This has very little to do with "altering my spiritual state." It's more about making sure that I'm getting the most out of each stretch and breath physically so that I am maintaining emotional regulation. All of these benefits, of course, extend to my spiritual life as well. Because my Christian walk is a part of everything I do, Christ has really, truly blessed me in my yoga practice. When I'm going through a flow, I pray, I seek answers, I ask questions. I get to focus on how God holds together all of my operating systems: physical, mental and spiritual.

Yoga is literally medicine. Doctors are starting to prescribe it like a pill. Here are just a few of the countless benefits of having a regular yoga practice:

- increased flexibility

- more effective circulation

- weight loss

- boosts immunity

- better focus

- increased oxygen intake

- sinus relief

- depression/anxiety relief (lots of serotonin!)

- better posture

- natural pain relief (even for menstrual aches and pains!)

- improved metabolism

- lowers blood sugar

- supports connective tissue

-maintains the nervous system

- releases physical and emotional tension

- relieves drug withdrawal symptoms

- prevents loss of bone and cartilage

- increased strength

- relieves insomnia and other sleep problems

For me and millions of others, the amazing benefits of yoga happen not because of calling on any other deity, but because of the strengthening and relaxation that happens when you go through the physical act of yoga. Of course, this physical positivity changes my emotions and spiritual posture with God, but for the better! I walk away physically invigorated, emotionally purged and spiritually more in tune with my Father's voice.

I think that's a really cool thing to experience, but it's not for everyone, and that's okay! If you're a Christian and do not feel inclined to start a yoga practice, that is valid! No true yogi would ever try and force a practice on anyone! But, it's hard to see a lot of my Christian friends bash yoga as "a practice from Hell" or "a way to open up portals" when it's been a Godsend for so many people ailing from things they never thought they would find relief from.

God, through the redemptive grace of Christ, is in the business of making all things new (Revelation 21:5). He can turn ashes into something of magnificent beauty, and I believe He can do it with yoga. Looking back, I can see how God has given me discernment with my practice to know how to worship and serve my God in yoga without compromising my heart in the process. Because of God's clear direction in my life, maintaining my spiritual integrity in yoga has not been hard.

I totally understand that an 800-word article may not change anyone's mind, and that's okay! I just ask everyone who might disagree with me to take into account not only all that I have said, but all that God says in Scripture, and use discernment to make a decision for yourself. I think that's really the heart of yoga today: asking others to consider a different way of observing life while staying completely true to themselves and what they believe.

Blessings.

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